Madison County is planning to distribute $1.1 million worth of grants to 32 municipalities for parks and recreation if approved.
HOME and Economic Development Coordinator James Arnold said the Park Enhancement Program grants for parks and recreation can be used for various things as long as they follow eligibility guidelines.
“They can use it for a number of eligible items throughout all of their parks, or they can focus on one park — ball diamonds, walking trails, concession stands, whatever you can think of,” Arnold said.
Arnold said the recipients of the grants were able to apply in December for aid that was due by March, but projects can start immediately after approval.
“From there, the parks can go out and spend money and ask for reimbursement from us, or they go out to bid and start construction projects and have us pay the vendors directly,” Arnold said.
Eric Foster, a board member representing District 21 and the Grants Committee Chairman, said the Grants Committee has already voted on the requests.
“Everything was approved at the last meeting [by the Grants Committee]. It goes to the board this Wednesday [April 21],” Foster said.
Foster said Madison County residents are able to see the benefits of these funds in all of their communities.
“There’s not one park in the surrounding community that will not see where improvements were made — for example, if they play pickleball, Granite City put in six beautiful pickleball courts,” Foster said.
According to Jamie Goggin, board member representing District 24, the official PEP grants proposal states that Glen Carbon requested $51,860 to improve both Miner Park and the Ray Schon Memorial Park. Edwardsville requested $106,524 to pay for the Plummer Family Park.
Other amounts include the largest given to the Granite City Park District at $120,736 for park improvements and athletic fields, and Alton Parks and Recreation at $110,924 for several parks to be improved.
Collinsville Parks and Recreation requested $89,604 for Woodland Park. Godfrey requested $71,868 for Glazebrook Sports Park. Tri-Township Park District requested $64,596 for various park improvements.
The 25 other municipalities, park districts, and townships requested amounts from around $15,000 to $50,000 for park related projects.
Goggin said all projects are expected to be finished by next year, but larger projects may need more time.
Goggin said the decision to establish the PEP grants was made in 2000 by Madison and St. Clair Counties to try and help communities improve their parks.
“Several years ago, the voters approved a measure to set aside one-tenth of one-percent sales tax for parks,” Goggin said.
Goggin said the amount given is decided on an annual basis and is based on population.
“This year is $4 per resident, but the minimum [amount given] would be $15,000,” Goggin said. “They come up with a project to spend what the amount of their maximum reward would be.”
Goggin said one of his favorite parts of these grants is that people can see where the money is going.
“The idea of the grant is that this money is used to create something physical that people can see and touch in a park — it’s something for the people to enjoy,” Goggin said.