Governor JB Pritzker, along with state and local leaders and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), today announced that the Park District of Highland Park was one of 118 park and recreation agencies throughout the State to receive an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant. The Park District of Highland Park was awarded a $600,000 grant to fund a portion of a Sunset Woods Park revitalization project, including the installation of a rain garden with native plantings and an interpretive sign, a new game area, the replacement and relocation of the 16-year-old basketball court to create a multi-use sports court, the replacement and relocation of the 21-year-old skate park, and a new wheel friendly plaza that creates a space for all ages and wheel activities. Sunset Woods Park is a 34-acre community park in downtown Highland Park that serves all residents. The Sunset Woods Revitalization Project seeks to enhance roughly 9 acres of the park by implementing initiatives from the park’s master plan.
The OSLAD grant program was designed to help communities fund land acquisition and development for parks and outdoor recreation projects. Established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1986, OSLAD is a cost-sharing program between state and local governments that has become one of Illinois’ most popular grant programs. Since its establishment, OSLAD has awarded over $530 million for park projects throughout Illinois (including the awards announced today). OSLAD grants typically provide up to 50% of funding for a project – excluding economically distressed communities where 100% of project costs have been covered. The other 50% is supplied by matching funds from the project’s local government agency.
“We are thrilled to be awarded the OSLAD grant to allow us to invest in Sunset Woods Park, our community’s central downtown park,” said Brian Romes, executive director for the Park District of Highland Park. “The Park District heard from many residents through the Sunset Woods Master Planning effort, and we are grateful for the support from the OSLAD grant program to be able to act on initiatives from that plan. The Park District is excited to begin engaging the community through the design process.”