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By Devin Rose
The Park District of Oak Park will receive a $400,000 matching grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to go towards renovations at Lindberg Park.
The funds are part of the Open Space and Land Acquisition and Development, or OSLAD, program, which provides matching money for outdoor recreation space projects around the state, according to a statement from the park district. Executive Director Jan Arnold said Gov. Pat Quinn made the announcement June 23 at Columbus Park.
The grant money, and a little more than $500,000 that's already in the district's capital improvement fund, will pay for a looped trail system at the park at Greenfield and Marion streets. Some of the older equipment at the 13.9-acre park—the largest in the district—will be rehabilitated as well. The tennis courts are 14 years old and the tot lot is much older, Arnold said. A covered picnic shelter will be added that is similar to the one at Taylor Park as well as an educational native plant area.
The two fields for baseball and soccer will also be renovated, but a field specifically for soccer will be put in to the north that will run east-west, Arnold said. Currently, baseball and soccer games can't go on at the same time, but the new field would allow lacrosse or soccer to go on there in addition to activities at the other fields.
Arnold said the park district applies for OSLAD grants every year and such a grant was also used to fund recent renovations at Mills and Taylor parks. She said they're already putting an application together for next year.
"We do a good job of completing the projects on time and on budget," Arnold said, adding the Lindberg project needs to be completed by the end of 2014. They'll have a better idea of a construction schedule by the early fall.
The park district was eligible for the OSLAD program because of the passage of the Renew Our Parks referendum in April 2005, the statement said. A site plan for Lindberg was completed in December 2010, which was a requirement for the OSLAD application. Since the referendum, the park district has secured almost $2 million in OSLAD funds for improvements at Mills, Taylor, Lindberg, Field and Longfellow parks.
Arnold said a complete renovation of Scoville Park, funded mostly through a Parks and Recreation Construction grant from the Department of Natural Resources, will hopefully start in late July. Improvements include the creation of a Peace Plaza around the World War I monument, a permanent stage and new trees, entrances, tennis courts and playground equipment.