Forty-six park districts across the state are getting money from the state to expand, build, or upgrade their parks. The $16.5 million in grants will create more recreational opportunities and encourage more people to spend time outside, says Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. Those spaces are very important,” Miller said. “When you’re looking for places in urban areas or Downstate, in rural areas, you have to have a healthy, safe place to go that creates that opportunity for outdoor recreation.”
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Park districts are required to at least match the state funds, which Miller says essentially doubles the state’s investment in parks. Outside of the Chicago area, the biggest grants were for Westside Park in Minier, Lincoln Park in Mount Vernon, and Lytle Park in Mattoon, which will each receive $400,000. The money comes from the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program, which is funded by the tax charged on property sales.