By Randy Pierce
Grant money that was originally designated for repairs to pavilions at Tri-Township Park in Troy has been “repurposed” to be used in resurfacing tennis courts there as a result of a resolution unanimously approved by the Madison County Board last month.
The Tri-Township Park District is receiving $55,194 from the county’s parks and recreation grant budget for the upgrading of the tennis courts at 410 Wickliffe Street in Troy.
When this matter surfaced at a meeting of the county board’s grants committee in early July, one of its members, Stacey Pace of Troy, explained why this action was necessary.
In 2022, an Illinois Open Space and Land Acquisition grant had been applied for with the intent of using it toward the park pavilion improvements, Pace said, but it was not approved. At the same general juncture last year, the Metro-East Park and Recreation District had approved funding for this same project and plans called for that money to be used as a required local “match” to go with the OSLAD funds for the pavilion work.
Because the OSLAD grant request was turned down by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to Pace, this necessitated that the $55,000-plus from the MEPRD for the pavilions had to be re-designated so the tennis courts’ project was the next choice for using it.
The OSLAD program provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space through the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund program. Projects vary from small neighborhood parks or tot lots to large community and county parks and nature areas. The state program is financed by a percentage of the state’s real estate transfer tax. The federal program is financed nationally by revenue from offshore oil and gas leases.
In June, the county’s parks enhancement commission, chaired by county board member Dalton Gray of Troy, had considered this matter and forwarded it on with a favorable recommendation to the grants committee.
That commission was set up with the approval of the county board in conjunction with the Metro East Park and Recreation District’s grant program which is funded through a special sales tax.
Since its inception in 2000, following the approval of a referendum by voters for a .10 per cent sales tax on tangible product purchases to support parks and recreation projects in both Madison and St. Clair counties, the MEPRD has provided over $38 million for this purpose in support of 240-plus different projects.
An increase in its income resulting from higher sales tax revenue being generated in this area has led to the MEPRD being enabled to increase its allotment of grant funds since this program was initiated.
Among the other more recent MEPRD-supported projects in Troy are the Tri-Township Park Trail extension to U.S. Senator Paul Simon Park, anticipated for completion in 2024.