Villa Park receives state grants for rec center, flood mitigation
Villa Park officials announced this week that two state agencies have awarded grants to the village for a pair of multimillion-dollar projects.
A $10 million grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will help pay for a new recreation center. Meanwhile, the village will use a $4 million grant from Illinois Emergency Management Agency to expand the stormwater detention basin at Jackson Middle School. The project is to help alleviate flooding in the area.
"Some of these things have been on the back burner," Village President Nick Cuzzone said. "But now that we have these grants, we're going to move ahead."
Cuzzone said there is not a construction timetable for either project. But he suggested that the Jackson Pond expansion will most likely begin next year. According to the Villa Park Department of Public Works, engineering for the project has been completed for some time.
The news of the $10 million grant for the recreation center was particularly heartening for the village board, especially in light of the maintenance problems starting in 2018 that forced the permanent closure of Lufkin Pool. Whether the new recreation center will offer a replacement pool remains to be seen.
"We will more than likely have a series of public hearings on what the community would like to see and where to locate it," said Cuzzone, adding the grant has a two-year deadline (with a possible extension) for the project to begin construction.
Cuzzone said one possible location could be in or near Lions Park at 312 E. Wildwood Ave. But Cuzzone ruled out Lufkin Park, citing a stipulation in its deed about the type of new construction.
Villa Park is awaiting the results of an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant it applied for this month for the redevelopment of Lufkin Park. This week also saw Villa Park vote to apply for three $600,000 community development block grants for water main replacement and street improvement projects over the next three years.
"The staff is really good about seeing what's out there and applying for grants," Cuzzone said. "It's starting to show fruition now."