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Village Vision News

Forsyth Family Sports Park master plan discussion

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Trustees talk grant award, development options

At the February 19 Board meeting, Trustee Bob Gruenewald presented a master plan for a proposed Forsyth Family Sports Park. The location for the park would be north of County Highway 20—near the Ameren substation—on land that sits between Stevens Creek and Oakland Avenue.

The master plan, developed by Village Engineer Mary Cave and her firm Chastain & Associates LLC, includes a pond, walking paths, splash pad, playground, ball diamonds and parking lots. Per the master plan, all of this would be built in seven phases carefully planned to coordinate with grant applications.

The reason for having the discussion now was due to the Village having recently been awarded a grant for land acquisition, which prompted talk of building a sports park that could incorporate the Village’s proposed community center.

The grant is part of the OSLAD Grant program established by the Illinois General Assembly back in 1986. OSLAD is an acronym for Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development.

According to the Illinois Association of Park Districts, the program came about from the group’s “legislative advocacy efforts to provide financial assistance to local government agencies for the acquisition and development of land for public parks and open space.”

The IAPD describes the program this way: “The bulk of the OSLAD money is used to provide grants to park districts, forest preserves and city parks throughout Illinois to acquire open space and to develop and improve park facilities. The rest supports the protection, management and restoration of natural areas and high quality wildlife habitats and highly trained conservation staff who maintain this investment. Nearly every county—94 of 102 in Illinois—has received OSLAD grants.”

Grant awards for development/renovation projects—like the one the Village is considering—are limited to a $400,000 maximum. However, according to Cave, the Village could submit for the grant in phases in order to receive $800,000 for Phases 1 and 2. The program “matches funds provided by park districts, municipalities, forest preserve districts and other local government entities, providing up to 50 percent of the funding.”

Using Urbana’s Meadowbrook Park as an example, Cave said “there might be some environmental grants available, too, with regard to prairie grasses and wetland preservation.”

She recommended building such a project should be done in phases that are carefully planned to coordinate with grant applications.

The OSLAD Grant program has been an effective one as it has awarded local communities throughout the state nearly $274,000,000 over the past 25 years, per IAPD.

Depending on design variables (i.e., synthetic turf vs. natural grass), the project would cost anywhere from just under $11,000,000 up to almost $19,000,000.

No action was taken.

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