The Village of Bluffs is seeking a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to update one of its most used parks.
Bluffs is applying for a $600,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Grant through IDNR to update Lewis Park at the center of the village. The grants are given to communities to help acquire and develop land to be used for public parks and open spaces.
Bluffs Mayor Linda Sapp says that the village is on a time crunch to get the grant submitted to the state: “We have all the designs ready to go. The grant itself is due at the end of September. We are trying to get it done as quickly as possible. We would be adding ADA-compliant parking, pickle ball, a bags court, electrical updates which we definitely need for events, updating the pavilion to more of an amphitheater. There will be shade for people. Right now, it gets pretty hot there during midday. We will also be adding a little playground area and a walking path.”
The Journal Courier reports that Bluffs’ residents can help with the grant process by sharing photos taken at the park, as well as any history they might have by dropping off copies at Bluffs Village Hall or emailing Sapp directly.
Sapp says the park along with a recent $1.1 million grant to replace the Village’s water tower is all a part of a current vision for the village: “I guess it’s probably just a vision the Board and I would like to see Bluffs improve. We needed the water tower. We pretty much had our hands full with that process. Then, Benton & Associates came to us and said there was this possibility out there [for the park]. When this opportunity became available, we knew that we really needed to go after this. Just August 20th, we had our annual burgoo picnic. In that little park, we had wall-to-wall people. We just want to continue and make all of the improvements that we can.”
Bluffs residents are also encouraged to sign a petition in support of the park improvements at change.org. The link to the petition can be found here.