WABASH VALLEY, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and other state and local leaders announced a $60 million dollar state grant funding project designed to develop 118 parks projects throughout the state, a few of which are here in the Wabash Valley.

Working to acquire land and offer recreational opportunities for Illinois communities, the grants stem from the largest round of Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) in the program’s 36-year history, which is aimed at helping communities fund projects in land development and acquisition for parks and outdoor recreation programs.

Not only has the program reached the largest round in its history, but the funding will also cover 100 percent of the eligible projects in economically distressed areas for the first time in the program’s history, resulting in a total of 22 low-income and underserved communities receiving the grant.

“Today, I couldn’t be prouder to announce that IDNR’s OSLAD program is offering the largest round of grants in the history of the program — nearly $60 million,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “The health and wellbeing of Illinoisans sits at the heart of the OSLAD program, and for the first time ever, we’ve been able to provide 100% of funding assistance to qualifying distressed recipients.”

Several counties in Illinois will be impacted by the grant funding and can expect to see changes coming to their local parks and outdoor recreation areas in the future.

The following counties within the Wabash Valley have been awarded a portion of the grant funding:

  • Champaign County
    • Champaign County Forest Preserve District – $400,000
    • Urbana Park District – $550,000
  • Clay County
    • Flora – $299,557
    • Louisville – $581,881
  • Crawford County
    • Oblong – $598,480.90
  • Effingham County
    • Village of Montrose – $600,000*
  • Jasper County
    • Willow Hill – $372,195.20

*Denotes an economically distressed community

For those interested in reading more about the details of the grant or to see a complete list of Illinois counties that will receive the funding, the Illinois governor Pritzker’s press release can be found here.