Glen Ellyn Park District Receives $400,000 OSLAD Grant

Posted on: February 13, 2019

The Glen Ellyn Park District was awarded a $400,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The OSLAD grant will fund a portion of the planned phase IV improvements at Ackerman Park, which includes renovation of the softball “hub”, an artificial turf athletic field, irrigation and drainage upgrades, bioswales, improved grass fields, an outdoor exercise area, and a trail system throughout the entire park.

Rob Weber, Park District Board President, stated, “The OSLAD grant enables the District to implement long overdue and well-planned improvements to Ackerman Park while reducing the financial burden for the District and residents. We are excited about the improved playability for soccer and softball as well as the addition of a recreational trail system throughout the park.” The remaining costs of the project will be funded through the Park District’s capital improvement fund.

The Ackerman Park master plan, adopted in 2014, identified several recommendations including improved playability for soccer and softball, trail connectivity, storm water management, softball “hub” renovation, additional irrigation, and parking lot and roadway improvements. Throughout phases I-III of the master plan, which took place from 2015 – 2018, the District increased programmable green space, added a trail connection to the Great Western Trail, renovated the main parking lot for Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center, and replaced and realigned the lower Ackerman Park athletic lights. Phase IV construction is anticipated to begin in June 2019 and is expected to be completed in early 2020.

The Glen Ellyn Park District recognized in 2013 that Ackerman Park, while a tremendous community resource for open space and athletics, needed improvements and renovation. Though the District did not have available funds at that time to perform any significant changes, it was determined that it was in the best interest of the community to develop an overall master plan for the property, with the hope that financial resources would be available in the future that could fund some or all the recommendations.

The property provides a central and consolidated location for travel soccer, house league soccer games, travel and recreational softball, along with Glenbard West High School and Hadley Junior High activities. Prior to adopting the master plan, the Park District had performed “band-aid” improvements to the property without an overall goal. While functional, the property had not been improved and had remained in almost the same condition that it was in the 1980’s.

This year, after a highly competitive and extensive process, over 89 park districts, forest preserves, and recreation agencies throughout the state will receive a total of over $28 million in OSLAD Grants. The improvement projects planned with these funds will benefit residents of Illinois by providing open space and new/improved recreational facilities and public parks. Additionally, these projects will also generate additional revenue through job creation and the promotion of recreation.