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IDNR Announces Nearly $12 Million for Parks and Open Space

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced $11.7 million for park development and land acquisition projects throughout the state. The Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Grant program (OSLAD) supports local economies by enabling communities to improve outdoor recreation areas and increase open space through dollars from the Real Estate Transfer Tax.

“The IDNR is committed to strengthening communities through the OSLAD program now and in the future. Parks and open space provide an essential quality of life element to residents and visitors of communities throughout Illinois and encourage economic development right here at home,” IDNR Director Marc Miller said.

In 2011, the IDNR-administered OSLAD program is funding 35 projects statewide. One additional project is receiving federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides matching grants to states and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.

The majority of the projects – 33 – will involve developing and constructing new parks and other associated facilities. The three remaining projects involve the purchase of new land for future open space use.

“OSLAD grants are vital to communities in many ways and meet a core IDNR priority of leaving no child inside,” added Director Miller.

Projects made possible by the OSLAD program have far-reaching positive impacts on communities statewide.

These projects demonstrate an investment on the part of local units of government to enhance the quality of life for residents, which attracts business growth and job creation locally.

The $11.7 million awarded this year combined with the grantees’ minimum 50 percent share will result in more than $23.4 million of local acquisition and development projects to enhance the quality of life in Illinois. The amount awarded each year for the OSLAD program is based on the fluctuating condition of the housing market. After continual analysis of revenues, the IDNR is confident in releasing this year’s funds. Prior to this year’s grants, OSLAD has provided nearly $341.3 million to local communities for 1,523 outdoor recreation and land acquisition projects statewide.

For a complete list of projects, please visit ww.dnr.illinois.gov.