STATELINE (WIFR) -- ComEd and Openlands have announced they are awarding almost $200,000 in Green Region grants to 23 communities throughout northern Illinois to support their continuing efforts to conserve and protect open spaces. These grants help local municipalities facilitate environmental initiatives that otherwise would be sacrificed due to budget constraints.
This is the third 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 are one of the ways ComEd and Openlands partner to give back to our communities and help them improve their green footprints. 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.
“At ComEd, we are committed to doing all that we can to advance clean and green initiatives that help to protect the environment and communities now and into the future. Supporting our local communities who are doing great work to preserve and enhance our resources is a natural fit,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs, ComEd. “We’re proud to partner with Openlands on this program and we congratulate the winning communities on their Green Region grants awards.”
Openlands, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on land conservation, is administering the Green Region program. Municipalities 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.
“Working closely with partners like ComEd is vital to the work Openlands does to ensure that everyone in our region has access to nature,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “The grants that are part of the Green Region program make it possible for projects throughout northern Illinois to move forward immediately, benefiting neighborhoods, communities, and ultimately all of us.”
The grants will be distributed by ComEd over the next two years. Openlands will monitor the 23 projects by developing reports, guidelines and a scorecard to track and measure the impact of each project.
The five Green Region grant recipients in the Rockford-area for 2015 are:
City of Sycamore
This project will connect the Peace Road Trail extension from the South Prairie Elementary School to the main trail next to Peace Road. This new connecting trail will allow safer access to the trail north of Prairie Drive on Peace Road, increasing the enjoyment of all who use the trail.
DeKalb County Forest Preserve District
This grant will assist the City of Genoa to connect Russell Woods Forest Preserve with a multi-use trail.
This project includes the design, fabrication and installation of one kiosk and 15 signs to help potential visitors find the 80-acre Headwaters property, orient themselves, and learn about its key natural and historic features.
Village of Orangeville
This project will involve the construction of an observation deck to enhance community interaction with the Village’s restored wetland along the Jane Addams Trail.
Village of Poplar Grove
This project is a part of an ongoing effort to develop an accessible, passive-use park shelter adjacent to Long Prairie Trail. The shelter and path will be enjoyed by residents, cyclists, and recreational enthusiasts, and it will be used as a space for organized events, scouting, and community wide activities.
The Green Region grants will be presented to the 23 municipalities during a reception in Chicago this fall.
To date, ComEd has distributed nearly a half million dollars to open space projects.
Additional information on the Green Region program can be found at www.openlands.org/greenregion.