March 8, 2023 || By Francia Garcia Hernandez ||
The Westchester Park District is among 118 recipients of the 2023 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants awarded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This year, the state agency is awarding $60 million to help park districts acquire land and develop park facilities and recreation project statewide.
A $600,000 OSLAD grant provides the Westchester Park District with half of the capital to complete the renovation of High Ridge Park, 10945 Canterbury St., which includes the renovation of the outdoor skate ring, skate park/bike park, and playground. New seating areas and pathways will also be added, said Dean Hoskin, the district’s executive director. Westchester Park District will fund the remaining half of the renovation costs, as OSLAD grants typically provide up to 50% of the project’s cost with local government agencies covering the rest.
The park district identified High Ridge Park as a high-priority park for renovation given its high traffic, old age and dated amenities. It is the second oldest park in the district, according to park district officials.
While the project is in early planning stages, the district expects the renovation will include changing the direction of the skate rink, repositioning the skate park and adding new equipment. It will “revitalize” the park’s outdoor and recreation amenities and increase accessibility through new pathways leading to the baseball field, Hoskin said.
“It’s going to be an opportunity to increase the amount of offerings we have for all ages,” Hoskin said, adding up to 100 people per night visit the park during the summer months.
Upon the announcement of this year’s grant recipients, Natalie Phelps Finnie, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said the grants are “an investment in the health and well-being of the people of Illinois.”