EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County is awarding $1.1 million in funding for various park and recreational projects in communities throughout the county.

The Grants Committee approved $1,111,302.72 in Park Enhancement Program grant funding on Monday and the County Board will take action on April 21.

The PEP grants range from between $15,000 and $122,000 and including funds for projects such as walking trail, exercise equipment, an off-leash dog park, playground equipment, ADA improvements, concrete chess/checker tables and bag games, sporting equipment, surveillance cameras, mowers and more. The funding will be combined with city, village, township and park district funds to finance the projects.

Chairman Kurt Prenzler said the PEP program is successful thanks to the taxpayers. He said voters approved a 1/10th of one percent sales tax in 2000 under the Illinois Metro-East Park and Recreation District Act and Madison County’s Community Development Department administers the PEP funding through Madison County Park and Recreation Grant Commission.

“Since its establishment the funds have been used to improve parks and recreational facilities across the county,” Prenzler said.

In the program’s 21 years, more than $23 million has been awarded municipalities, townships and park districts. The grant can be applied for annually.

County Board member and Grants Committee Chair Eric Foster said this program benefits taxpayers countywide.

“There is a vast network of parks and recreational facilities within the county, which enhances the quality of life for residents,” Foster said. “People in every community can go to their local park and point to something that was built with the sales tax funding.”

Prenzler said not only do residents enjoy the amenities at parks and recreational facilities but so do the people who come to visit.

“This helps contribute positively toward the county’s overall economic development,” he said.

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