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Hanover Township receives $400k state grant to develop open space

Post Date:02/02/2020

A feeling of excitement and relief was felt among staff, officials, volunteers, and residents when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced in January that Hanover Township was the recipient of $400,000 in funding from the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program.

“It was exactly the news we were hoping for,” said Brian McGuire, Township Supervisor. “With this grant, we’ll be able to drastically improve, and expand programs, and bring new people to the Township.”

The Township began the process of applying for the grant in 2015, to develop the master plan for its 13-acre Izaak Walton Center and Reserve in Elgin. With the documents gathered, signed and sealed, Governor Rauner abruptly suspended the program. Early last year, Governor Pritzker reinstated OSLAD funding for local governments.

The grant calls for recipients to match the funds awarded and allows for a two-year window for the project to be completed.

The main features of the proposed plan call for an elevated boardwalk trail through the wetland portion of the property; featuring interpretive signs describing the native plants, animals and trees. Additionally, a pedestrian bridge over Poplar Creek will allow for better access to trails and an existing archery range. An outdoor pavilion with amphitheater seating will also be installed for entertainment and outdoor education programs for youth and older adults.

“We anticipate moving quickly and will begin the process of submitting plans and applying for permits this spring,” said McGuire. “This is not only an improvement to the property, but also a significant improvement to the neighborhood.”

The Elgin Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America gifted the land to the Township in March of 2013. At the time, Hanover Township was leasing office space in Elgin offering rotating satellite services. Township staff completed extensive renovations to existing building on the property to resume service delivery in December of 2013. In addition to weekly services for health screenings, general assistance appointments, senior programs and veterans services, the Youth & Family Services Department conducts a summer camp on the property. The Township also partners with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to provide a free summer lunch program for nearby residents.

“The support our application received from local elected officials, legislators, and community groups was overwhelming,” said McGuire. “We’re proud to work with so many individuals and organizations on projects such as this, to better serve our residents.”

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