MT. VERNON — By resolution, the Mt. Vernon City Council approved a $400,000 grant for Lincoln Park.
The approval came during the bi-monthly meeting of the council.
The grant is part of $16.5 million awarded as part of the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Mt. Vernon’s grant will go toward a $1.6 million project for Lincoln Park. Phase one of the project includes a softball field, eight tennis courts, restrooms and a hiking trail.
Parks Facility Director George Bryant indicated sidewalks will be constructed along 34th Street, as well as a bike trail.
“This is for the development of eight acres at Lincoln Park,” Bryant said. “There still is an additional 14 acres the Lincoln Park Foundation is holding for the city’s future development.”
Bryant said the softball field will not include lights to begin with, although it may possibly have lights in the future. He said bleachers will be included.
The dimensions of the softball field will allow the parks department to allow the men’s league games to be moved to Lincoln Park from Fairview Park, he added.
“That field is extremely old and our lighting system is outdated,” Bryant said.
The expanded area is south of the Aquatic Zoo and adjacent to the existing parking lot on the east side of 34th Street.
The tennis courts are being designed with the idea they could be used by the high school and Rend Lake College.
Bryant said the courts at Veterans Memorial Park are in deteriorating conditions, costing up to $8,000 to renovate two courts.
“The base is gone,” Bryant said. “They have served their life. They are over 40, 50 years old.”
The tennis courts will be lighted.
The council took no action on bids received for wayfinding signs after Councilman Todd Piper requested a walk-through of the locations of the signs.