Parks, trails to share $3 million in grants

Twenty parks and trails projects in Madison and St. Clair counties will share $3 million in grants from the Metro East Park and Recreation District.

Awarded under the MEPRD Park and Trail Grant program, the grants will help local and county agencies, municipalities, park districts and transit districts develop or improve public parks, trails and facilities. Recreation.

In total, the selected projects represent an investment of $18.5 million in public parks and the regional trail network in the region.

“The response to this year’s Park and Trail grant has been outstanding,” said Cole Preston, MEPRD grant coordinator. “From the construction of wading pools, inclusive playgrounds and other key improvements to local parks, to the planned development of nearly 9.8 miles of new regional bikeways, this year’s program awards will help make many locally driven projects a reality and further enrich recreational opportunities and connectivity in the eastern metropolitan area.

In June, the MEPRD announced that this year’s program had the largest budget ever. Eligible applicants with an eligible project could apply for a reimbursement grant of up to 40% of the estimated cost of their project, up to $100,000 for improvements to parks and recreational facilities and up to $300,000 for development of regional trails. The MEPRD accepted applications until the end of August, when all available funds were requested and reserved.

Of the 20 projects awarded in this cycle, nine involve the improvement or development of public parks and recreational facilities. Eleven are for the development of regional bike trails and trailhead facilities which, combined, total 9.8 miles of new trail development.

Madison County grant recipients include:

• Village of East Alton: Keasler Recreation Complex — $29,530.80 for the gym floor

• City of Edwardsville: Illinois 157 Shared Use Path — $200,000 for trail development, Phase 5, Schwarz Street to St. Louis Street

• Village of Glen Carbon, shared-use trail — $283,953 for Phase 1 of trail development

• Village of Godfrey, Glazebrook Park Expansion — $22,377 for park expansion

• City of Highland, Hoffman Park Playground — $62,691 for playground development

• Madison County Transit, Chain of Rocks Shared Use Path — $300,000 for trail development

• City of Troy, Tri-Township Park Trail — $220,000 to extend the trail to Senator Paul Simon’s Park

• Village of Williamson, Fitness Park — $28,329.08 to develop a fitness park

• Town of Wood River, Confluence Trail — $300,000 to build a trail to the Camp Dubois connector

MEPRD was formed by voters in Madison and St. Clair counties in November 2000 to develop and improve parks, recreation facilities and trails. For more information, visit www.meprd.org.