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Lions Park may be granted face-lift

DeKalb Park District is applying for grant that would equal $400,000 for work

DeKALB – Lions Park, located along Taylor Street near River Heights Golf Course, could be getting a face-lift in the near future.

The DeKalb Park District will present schematics of proposed amenities that could be installed at the park during a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. today. The meeting will be held at the Lions Park Shelter at 700 W. Taylor St.

“Lions Park has a very old playground,” said Cindy Capek, the park district’s executive director. “The plan is to replace the playground and renovate the shelter.”

Any renovation of Lions Park is dependent on whether the park district can secure an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The grant provides funding to local governments that are looking to acquire and/or development land for public parks.

Capek said the grant is worth $400,000, with the state contributing half that amount and the park district matching it. The grant application is due July 1, with the recipients announced in 2014.

Capek said she’s optimistic and hopeful the park district will receive a grant, and said the park district would not be able to do these kinds of renovations without the grant.

In addition to renovating the shelter and replacing the playground, half-court basketball and sand volleyball also could be installed at the park.

Capek said they also want to do some education-based renovations. The park is near Tyler Elementary School, and Capek said she wanted to make improvements that could be used as teaching lessons.

“It’d be a wonderful learning opportunity for kids to come over and use the park,” Capek said.

Because Lions Park lies in a flood plain, the district is restricted on what kind of renovations can be made there. Capek said the park district cannot add any enclosed structures to the park.

“You want to make sure the materials you’re recommending can withstand those situations, and we want to be very sensitive to that,” Capek said. “If we do get the grant, the improvements will be phenomenal.”

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