State grants awarded to two park projects in Winnebago County

State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today that two major park projects in Winnebago County have been awarded a state grant through the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program.

Roscoe Township’s Founder’s Park project has been awarded $337,300 and the Rockford Park District’s Ray Wantz Memorial Playground development will receive $315,000.

“The Rockford region is home to many of Illinois’ best public parks and recreation areas,” Representative Sosnowski said. “Both the Ray Wantz Memorial Playground and Founder’s Park are especially worthy recipients of this state grant, as they will provide families and neighbors a place to gather and make new memories together thanks to the efforts of local organizers who planned these projects with a vision that celebrates our community’s past, present and future. I congratulate everyone involved in both projects on their success.”

Roscoe Township broke ground in March 2021 for a park and 3,350-square-foot community center at the 4500 block of Hononegah Road. Founder’s Park will be located on 17 acres that includes the original home of Roscoe Township’s first non-native settler couple, Robert and Hanna Cross. The Roscoe Township Historical Society is raising private funds to restore the Cross home, which was built in the 1840s. The park will feature an open pavilion with seating, a vendor area for outdoor events, indoor antique farm equipment displays, a farmer’s market area, walking paths and community gardens.

Rockford Park District’s Wantz Memorial Park located at 602 E. Riverside Boulevard in Loves Park will be home to a new playground with funding assistance from the OSLAD grant.

The OSLAD program is a state-financed grant program that provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public outdoor recreation areas. OSLAD is a matching program that provides an advance payment (for development projects only) that is 50 percent of the grant award amount shortly after the grant agreement is executed.  The local agency must demonstrate and possess the ability to finance the remaining costs of an approved project prior to receipt of remaining grant funds.