Outdoor recreation opportunities and open space are an important part of the quality of life enjoyed by Illinois citizens. The ever increasing need to provide quality, close-to-home recreation opportunities and open space is a difficult challenge for many units of government in Illinois. To assist in this effort, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Office of Architecture, Engineering and Grants, Division of Grant Administration, administers eight grants-in-aid programs to help local agencies in Illinois provide a variety of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. For 2014, there are still 5 upcoming grant application deadlines:
April 14: Illinois Youth Recreation Corps (Summer Jobs) The Illinois Youth Recreation Corps was established for making grants to local governments and not for profit entities to provide wages to youth operating and instructing in recreational and conservation programs. Such programs shall provide conservation and recreational opportunities, to include, but not be limited to, the coordination and teaching of physical activities and learning activities directly related to natural resource conservation management or recreation. For more information or to get the application, click here.
May 1: Trails Grant Programs- Snowmobile The state-funded Snowmobile Grant Program for local governments is financed from the registration fees of snowmobiles and provides up to 50% reimbursement of approved facility development/rehabilitation costs and 90% of approved trail corridor land acquisition costs for public snowmobile trails and areas in the state. This program is available to any unit of local government located in a region of Illinois with sufficient snow cover and having statutory authority to acquire and develop lands for public park and recreation purposes. For more information or to get the application, click here.
May 1: Snowmobile Trail Establishment Fund (STEF) Program The Snowmobile Trail Establishment Fund (STEF) Program provides financial assistance to incorporated, private snowmobile clubs in Illinois. The STEF Program provides reimbursement funding assistance up to 100% of eligible project costs. Funds for the program come from a portion of snowmobile registration fees collected by the state. Grants may be obtained by local snowmobile clubs to develop and maintain additional public trails and facilities in the state. Although grants are made to private clubs, STEF-assisted snowmobile trails and facilities must be open and available for general public use. For more information or to get the application, click here.
July 1: Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) Program The Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) Program is a state-financed grant program that provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space. The federal Land & Water Conservation Fund program (known as both LWCF and LAWCON) is a similar program with similar objectives. Both are managed in Illinois by the Department of Natural Resources with concurrent application due dates, equal grant maximums and similar general rules. Written applications must be submitted to IDNR between May 1 and July 1 of each calendar year, with grant awards typically announced by December or January. Only those local government agencies having statutory authority to acquire and develop land for public park purposes are eligible to apply for and receive assistance under the OSLAD and LWCF grant programs. For more information or to get the application, click here.
Sept. 1: Boat Access Area Development Program The Boat Access Area Development Program provides financial assistance to local government agencies for the acquisition, construction, and expansion/rehabilitation, including necessary A/E services, of public boat and canoe access areas on Illinois’ lakes and rivers. The program provides up to 100% of approved project construction costs and 90% of approved land acquisition costs. Grant awards are limited to a $200,000 annual maximum per project. Applications for grant assistance must be received by IDNR between July 1 and September 1 of each calendar year. Grant awards are typically announced the following spring. Revenue for this state funded program is derived from marine motor fuel tax and boat/canoe registration fees. For more information, or to get the application, click here.