ComEd and Openlands awarded $125,000 in Green Region grants to 17 municipalities and nonprofits throughout northern Illinois to support their continuing efforts to conserve and protect open spaces. Oswego was one of them.
Many municipal and nonprofit budgets are stretched thin and U.S. cities face falling revenues for a sixth-straight year in the current economic climate, according to the National League of Cities (Sept. 12, 2013), which makes these grants even more important.
This is the first year of the Green Region program in Illinois, a joint effort by ComEd and Openlands to fund municipal conservation and environmental projects.
The Green Region grants relieve some of the financial strain faced by numerous municipalities and nonprofit organizations forced to make significant cuts to environmental programs due to budget constraints.
The grants subsidize existing open space projects at the municipal level focusing on conservation, preservation, protecting endangered species, and improvements to local parks and recreation resources. Each grant applicant was eligible for a maximum of $10,000 per project.
Openlands, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on land conservation, is administering the Green Region program. Municipalities and nonprofits throughout northern Illinois submitted their applications for a Green Region grant earlier this year. The applications were reviewed by an advisory committee of local environmental leaders selected by ComEd and Openlands.
The grants will be distributed by ComEd over the next two years. Openlands will monitor the 17 projects by developing applications, guidelines and a scorecard to track and measure the impact of each project.
The only Kendall County recipient was Oswego, for the "Paddle the Fox" project.
The grant for Paddle the Fox will "fund the design and fabrication of five signs to identify the water trail as part of the “Paddle the Fox” project and placed along the Fox River at established canoe launch sites."
Partners include the Oswegoland Park District, Village of Montgomery, and City of Yorkville, all of which are providing in-kind services for installation and upkeep of the signs.