SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan announced today that he is releasing $713,000 in Illinois FIRST funding for projects in the Kankakee and Illinois river valleys, including $250,000 to the City of Ottawa to purchase 62.5 acres of property east of the city, commonly known as Harpers Farm.
The property will be developed and used as a new park. The purchase of this property will also preserve the former interurban rail line as an historic site. This Illinois FIRST project was initiated by State Sen. Patrick D. Welch, D-Peru.
Other Illinois FIRST grants announced by Ryan:
- $200,000 to the Limestone Township Fire Protection District to help purchase a sprinkler system, equipment, materials and an exterior storage building as well as help construct front and rear concrete approaches for its new fire station on West State Route17.
- $100,000 to Manhattan Township to purchase a motor grader. The township is contributing $58,200.
This project was initiated by State Sen. Lawrence "Larry" Walsh, D-Elwood.
- $100,000 to the Village of Minooka to construct a two-mile bike path along Ridge Road.
This project was initiated by State Rep. Mary K. O'Brien, D-Coal City.
- $60,000 to the City of Ottawa to purchase 10.5 acres of riverfront property for use as open space and additional boat launch ramps and trailer parking.
This project was initiated by Welch.
- $3,000 to the City of Marseilles to develop a baseball field and provide benches, garbage cans and landscaping at the Broadway Street Park.
This project was initiated by O'Brien.
Illinois FIRST funds are not part of the state budget's General Revenue
Fund. Recently, lagging tax collections brought on by a slowdown in the national economy and the terrorist attacks of September 11 have forced the governor to order spending cuts in the General Revenue Fund that amount to less than 2 percent of total spending. Illinois FIRST monies are derived from separate accounts in the state budget -- the Road Fund and the Fund for Illinois Future -- as well as through the sale of state bonds.