Park District Receives $400,000 Grant for Maple Park
On Saturday, April 5, 2014 Governor Quinn announced $16.5 million in grant awards for 46 local park projects across Illinois. Included in the grant announcement was the Park District of Oak Park who will receive $400,000 in OSLAD (Open Space Land Acquisition and Development) grant funds for Phase II improvements to Maple Park. Administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the OSLAD grant program requires agencies to match grant funding. The Park District has allocated $620,000 dollars in the 2016 Capital Improvement Budget for this project.
Maple Park is a sprawling 6.9 acre park located in the southwest corner of Oak Park. Park improvements will include a new playground relocated closer to the east side of the park with a new picnic shelter located nearby, renovation of the two existing ball fields including new backstops and player and spectator areas, and the creation of two new fields for youth soccer and lacrosse. Additionally, climbing boulders will be installed in between the two ball fields, pickle ball lines will be drawn on the existing tennis courts to introduce Oak Park to this fast growing sport and existing pathways will be connected to create a looped walking/jogging path from the north end of the park to the south end. The District will also be making overall improvements to native landscaping within the park and basic park furnishings such as benches, bike racks, and water fountains.
The Park District was eligible for this grant program due to the successful passing of the “Renew Our Parks” referendum by Oak Park voters in April 2005. A site plan for Maple Park was developed in November 2007 through an extensive public input process. Phase I improvements, completed in spring 2011, included construction of a new east side pathway connecting the north side of the park with the south side of the park, tennis court relocation to the southwest corner and the transformation of the former tennis court/basketball areas in the center of the park into a multi-use field/meadow. A dog park was constructed in the northwest corner of the park and more trees, landscaping and walkway lights were added.
Park District President Jessica Bullock said, “OSLAD grant funding allows the Park District to expand the breadth and depth of outdoor recreation opportunities in our community. The Park District is challenged by limited open space but we are able to maximize the use of this limited resource with the support of the OSLAD program.” Since 2005, the Park District has secured nearly $2.8 million in OSLAD grant funds for park improvements at Field, Longfellow, Taylor, Mills, and Lindberg Parks and at Austin Gardens. A PARC (Parks And Recreation Construction) Grant for $1.6 million was awarded to the Park District in December 2011 for the entire renovation of Scoville Park.
“The Park District has been very successful in securing grant funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,” stated Jan Arnold, Park District Executive Director. “A rejuvenated Scoville Park was opened in June 2013 and we look forward to the renovation of Lindberg Park later this year, construction of an Environmental Learning Center in Austin Gardens next year and the continued improvement of Maple Park in 2016. We are grateful to Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for this opportunity to continue to transform our parks and positively impact the quality of life in our community.”
For further information, please contact Executive Director Jan Arnold.
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