State parks to see $14 million for improvements

Recently, more than $14 million in capital improvement project funds were released by the Governor’s Office for the Department of Natural Resources’ state parks and recreation areas across the state. 

The revenue is part of the bipartisan fiscal year 2019 budget signed in June for improvement and maintenance projects for park infrastructure statewide, including: Argyle Lake State Park in McDonough County, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area in Clinton County, Fort Massac State Park in Massac County, the Illinois and Michigan Canal in northeast Illinois, Kankakee River State Park in Kankakee County, and Mississippi Palisades State Park in Carroll County. 

Proponents emphasize that the investment in Illinois state parks and recreation areas is not only vital to ensure the safety of park visitors and personnel at the sites, but will be critical to attract visitors from in and out of state. Coming off a record-high tourism year in 2017, advocates stress these sites play an important role in generating tourism dollars that benefit local and state economies. 

According to a statement from the Governor’s office, the impacted park and recreation areas include: 

Kankakee River State Park, located in Kankakee County, is receiving a $1,855,300 grant to help reopen the park’s campgrounds to visitors. 

Fort Massac State Park, located in Massac County, is receiving a $2,796,700 grant to aid in various site improvements and evaluate the current condition of the timber-framed 19th century Fort Massac fort replica to determine how to stabilize the structure and allow public access to the interior grounds of the fort. 

Argyle Lake State Park, located in McDonough County, is receiving a $1,805,500 grant to use for dam and boat ramp improvements. The contractor should start work by November 2018, with an anticipated completion by the fall of 2019. 

Mississippi Palisades State Park, located in Carroll County, is receiving a $467,700 grant to update facility infrastructure. 

I&M Canal located in Will/Grundy County is receiving a $6,672,150 grant to make DuPage River spillway improvements that are needed to ensure public safety. 

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area located in Clinton County, received $438,900 for much needed renovations to park facilities to ensure the park’s continued ability to provide services to Illinois residents. 

All projects are expected to be completed by the fall of 2020, though most will be finalized by fall 2019. 

For more information on Illinois state parks and recreation opportunities, go to the IDNR website at

Neil Anderson

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