Applications are now being accepted for the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Grant (OSLAD) program. The OSLAD Program through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is a state-financed grant program that provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space.

All local governments must be authorized by Illinois law to spend public funds for those purposes. School districts are ineligible. These projects can vary from smaller neighborhood parks to larger community or county parks or nature areas.

Under this program, most grants will only cover up to 50% of approved project costs. However, for those in economically distressed communities the amount can be increased to 100% of costs. A list of those communities can be found online. Grants for acquisition projects can be awarded up to $1.725 million, while development or renovation projects are limited to a maximum of $600,000. All applications must be submitted prior to 5:00 p.m. on Aug 31. There are multiple steps to completing an application, however it can be started online.

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