By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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MACHESNEY PARK— The village was awarded a $506,150 state grant on Wednesday to continue its effort to acquire flood-prone properties and turn the land into park space.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant will be matched by the village and go toward the purchase and demolition of seven properties in the Rock River floodway.
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The acquisition program is voluntary, and part of the funds will be used to relocate residents who choose to participate.
The acquisitions will help with the village’s plan to turn riverfront property along Shore Drive into a park with fishing piers and overlooks of the Rock River. The proposal is called Stone’s Landing Park & Boat Launch.
The grant for Machesney Park was part of $60 million in grants for 118 projects across the state announced on Wednesday. New Milford, which received $600,000, was the only other local community to receive money in this round of grant funding.
The OSLAD grant program has now awarded more than $530 million for park projects since it was established in 1986.
“An investment in the outdoors is an investment in the health and well-being of the people of Illinois,” IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie said in a news release. “We know that 83% of Illinoisans consider access to outdoor recreational opportunities important for them and their families. We also know that getting outside leads to better overall health.”
Machesney Park has been working to acquire and demolish flood-prone properties through various federal and state programs since a massive flood hit the village in 2008. The village has acquired 161 properties so far totaling more than 40 acres of land.