CALUMET CITY | An Illinois Department of Natural Resources program is providing $15.3 million to benefit public parks across the state, including facilities in Calumet City and Crete.
Downey Park in Calumet City will receive $350,000 to pay for renovations to the baseball and softball fields, a basketball court, splash pad, tennis court and amphitheater, along with creation of additional parking and a multi-use trail with fitness stations.
"This grant will allow us to provide a first-class park to families in the western portion of the district ... and doing it without raising taxes," said Calumet Memorial Park District Board President Stanley Miller.
In Crete, the park district received $75,000 and the local Lions Club will match that grant to build a new park at the corner of Berkshire and Bradford Place from 95 percent recycled materials. Lions Park will include equipment in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, panels that include Braille, bike racks, a water fountain, benches, an adult swing, solar panel light and a wildlife habitat.
"We are so very grateful to again be awarded (Open Space Land Acquisitions and Development) funds and appreciate the commitment to the OSLAD program," Crete Park District Executive Director Pat Polzin said. "Further, we appreciate the support of the Crete Lions Club."
Both parks are located in the legislative district of state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, who said he thinks the projects are worthy uses of funds from the Open Space Land Acquisitions and Development program, which provides up to half the cost of any project.
“These grants will give our children and families the opportunity to make better use of our local parks,” Jones said. “It’s very important to me that our community has access to open space and that our children have access to safe playing surfaces for team activities.”