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Berwyn

Berwyn Park District seeks grant to develop open space

BERWYN – During the summer, the Berwyn Park District hosts several programs and fun events for local families. From youth camps to community bonfires to Movies in the Park, executive director Jeff Janda and his staff are committed to helping residents create memories.

But Janda remains restless when it comes to the idea of giving his community something more. He and his colleagues see potential in the vacant space at 6514 W. 27th Place, and with time, planning and the right funding, they believe they could transform the spot.

Janda and the Berwyn Park District are seeking to apply for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant that will help alleviate some of the costs for the lot’s future improvements.

Janda said that OSLAD, which is funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is a “50/50 matching grant,” and the park district is responsible for “coming up with the matching money” to pay for those developments.

On Aug. 1, Janda and his team welcomed the public to a meeting that raised awareness about the park district’s recent OSLAD grant effort and previewed the green space’s possibilities. In previous meetings, Janda said some community members have suggested building a gazebo or a small playground, while others favored keeping portions of the space free and open.

Janda said the park district also is interested in obtaining a separate grant from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago that could promote plans for stormwater management through permeable pavers on an angled parking lot.

Both of those grant applications are due this month, Janda said, and the purpose of the recent public information meeting was to include residents in conversation. Those who were unable to attend have until Aug. 8 to submit any written comments, and any inquiries should be directed to Janda at jjanda@berwynparks.org.

“That’s why we’re working through this and making sure that we’re on task for what the public’s been asking for,” he said.

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