Schmidt: OSLAD Grant Applications Open Until September

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will accept applications for the next round of Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants between July 1 through Sept. 13, closing at 5 p.m.

OSLAD is a matching program that provides an advance payment (for development projects only) of 50% of the grant award amount shortly after the grant agreement is executed. The local agency must demonstrate and possess the ability to finance the remaining cost of an approved project prior to receipt of remaining grant funds. The program offers state-financed funding assistance to local governmental agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and outdoor recreation areas.

A total of $54 million is available for this round of OSLAD grants. In addition, IDNR will once again will provide funding to cover 100% of eligible projects located in economically distressed communities. In the most recent round of OSLAD awards announced in January, 32 underserved locations received grants for local park projects. Go online for a list of communities that are considered economically distressed.

Established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1986, OSLAD is a cost-sharing program between state and local governments that has become one of the most popular grant programs in Illinois. Since it was established, OSLAD has awarded more than $585 million for park projects throughout Illinois. The program is funded through a percentage of Illinois’ Real Estate Transfer Tax.

The application period opens July 1, and applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Sept. 13, 2024. Prior to applying for a grant, entities must be registered and current in the state’s Grant Accountability and Transparency Act grantee portal. All applications will be accepted online in the Amplifund portal.

Training webinar available for applicants

IDNR staff along with the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) will offer training to demonstrate how to complete an application in Amplifund. The webinar will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 17.

• IAPD members will need to register through the IAPD website.

• Non-members can participate by going online and using the following passcode: 986269.

• Alternatively, participants can call in to the webinar at 309-205-3325 or 312-626-6799 with passcode 986269. The webinar ID is 880-7945-4324.

For more information about OSLAD grants, go online or call 217-782-7481.