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August 21, 1999

Ryan Marks Park District Conservation Day With Grants For Parks

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan marked Park District Conservation Day at the Illinois State Fair by awarding $464,000 in Illinois FIRST grants to park districts throughout the state for the construction of playgrounds, jogging paths, bike trails and other projects that will improve recreational areas.

"Today, in a continuing commitment of my administration, we are helping park districts around the state with their plans to improve the quality of life for their residents" Ryan said. "We are stewards of this state and it's our job to make sure that recreation areas and open space is protected for our children, grandchildren and their children.

"These Illinois FIRST grants will go a long way to help these park districts meet the needs of their neighbors with bike paths, jogging trails and playgrounds," the governor added.

The grants were awarded to five park districts in Chicago's suburbs and one in the Peoria area. Ryan was aided in the presentation by officials from the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.

The park districts receiving grants were:

  • Tinley Park District -- $43,000 for a new, safer multi-level playground for children at Pottawattomie Park to replace an old playground. This grant was an initiative of state Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park.

  • Olympia Fields Park District -- $53,000 to help youth groups and sports clubs erect new flag poles at Sgt. Means Park and Bicentennial Park. The funds will also allow the completion of a walking and jogging path at Sgt. Means Park and the purchase of new computer equipment. This grant was the initiative of state Rep. George Scully, D-Park Forest.

  • Crete Park District -- $25,000 to help complete the 3,300-foot western phase of the Crete Bike Trail project, a 10 foot-wide trail that extends the current trail along woodlands and over Goose Creek. This grant was the initiative of Scully.

  • Memorial Park District -- $50,000 to help make playground improvements at two or three parks within this system, which is loacted in Hillside. The improvements include new equipment and play surfaces, as well as landscaping. This grant is an initiative of state Rep. Wanda Sharp, D-Maywood.

  • Deerfield Park District -- $100,000 to help construct 2,269 feet of new noise abatement walls along the Tri-State Tollway to help separate park lands from the noise of the Tri-State and the Edens Spur Interchange. This grant was the initiative of state Sen. Terry Link, D-Highwood.

  • Fon Du Lac Park District --$280,000 to build a new branch of the State Significant River Trail of Illinois. The new 1.5-mile section of trail will link neighborhoods in East Peoria with the existing system. The trail will begin at Fon du Lac Golf Course and run through Veteran's Park, Fon Du Lak Park West and Jaycee Park. This grant was the initiative of state Sen. George Shadid, D-Peoria.

    Illinois FIRST is a five-year, $12 billion initiative passed by Ryan this spring that is designed to clean, purchase and improve natural areas and recreation parks, repair and construct roads and bridges, expand and upgrade schools and improve water systems throughout the state.

    "I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who worked with me to pass Illinois FIRST, which over the next five years will improve our parks and natural areas, rebuild roads and bridges and upgrade schools and sewer systems," Ryan added. "Illinois FIRST will keep Illinois competitive in the next century to attract new business, create jobs and to make this state an attractive place for families to put down roots."

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