$26M set aside to buy land for parks in Illinois

OAK PARK, Ill. (AP) — An investment of $26 million by taxpayers will allow communities across Illinois to buy land for parks and improve recreation. Gov. Pat Quinn announced the grants Saturday as part of a plan he says will increase recreational opportunities, create jobs and help the economy. The money comes from the state’s Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program. It will provide $24 million to support 75 projects in 28 counties throughout Illinois. Another $2 million comes from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The money will provide up to half of each project’s cost. The program is funded by a portion of the state real estate transfer tax. Since 1987, it has provided $391 million to 1,700 local parks.