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State officials issue $14M to state park improvements

I&M Canal in Grundy, Will counties on list

The governor's office released funds for more than $14 million in capital improvement projects at state parks and recreation areas managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

This money was included in the fiscal year 2019 budget signed in June and will be used for capital improvements to parks statewide.

The Illinois & Michigan Canal located in Will/Grundy County is receiving a $6,672,150 grant to make DuPage River spillway improvements that are needed to ensure public safety. The I&M Canal passes through La Salle County.

“These repairs and improvements represent necessary maintenance near the Kankakee River, in particular modifications to help protect against a 100-year flood,” said Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, in a press statement “Having been heavily involved in flood mitigation efforts in our region for many years now, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared for extreme weather events — and maintaining and improving our infrastructure plays a role in that.”

The park improvement and maintenance projects are at sites throughout the state and include: Argyle Lake State Park in McDonough County, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area in Clinton County, Fort Massac State Park in Massac County, Kankakee River State Park in Kankakee County and Mississippi Palisades State Park in Carroll County.

“Illinois has some of the nation’s best state parks and recreation areas,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a press statement. “These funds will help improve park infrastructures, so all Illinois residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the natural beauty that our state has to offer. These investments will help keep our parks attractive visitor destinations and that, in turn, helps build our economy.”

Kankakee River State Park, located in Kankakee county, is receiving a $1,855,300 grant to help reopen the park’s campgrounds to visitors.

Fort Massac State Park, located in Massac county, is receiving a $2,796,700 grant to aid in various site improvements and evaluate the current condition of the timber-framed 19th century Fort Massac fort replica to determine how to stabilize the structure and allow public access to the interior grounds of the fort.

Argyle Lake State Park, located in McDonough county, is receiving a $1,805,500 grant to use for dam and boat ramp improvements. The contractor should start work by November 2018, with an anticipated completion by the fall of 2019.

Mississippi Palisades State Park, located in Carroll County, is receiving a $467,700 grant to update facility infrastructure.

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area located in Clinton County, received $438,900 for much needed renovations to park facilities to ensure the park’s continued ability to provide services to Illinois residents.

The IDNR has already committed $4.2 million in funds to aid in the completions of these projects. All projects are expected to be completed by the fall of 2020 with most reaching completion by fall of 2019.

“These important projects will help ensure the health and safety of our state park visitors and site personnel — and make it easier for visitors to enjoy our state park recreational facilities, including lakes, waterways, and campgrounds,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal in a press statement. “Gov. Rauner recognizes the importance of maintaining and improving our state parks for the enjoyment of Illinois residents and visitors to our state, and we are grateful to the governor for his support in moving these projects forward.”

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