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Evanston wins $200,000 grant for Church Street boat ramp upgrade

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Illinois journalist Bill Smith announced today, 26 March 2014, that Illinois Department of Natural Resources awarded the City of Evanston in Cook County Illinois a $200,000 grant.

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The IDNR allocated the funds to construct an extension for the Church Street Boat Ramp to upgrade the facility and improve safety. The ramp provides Lake Michigan access for powerboats, sailboats, and personal watercraft like canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.

IDNR Director Marc Miller announced that the “2014 Boat Access Area Development grants totaling $715,200 were awarded to six communities. The Natural Resources Advisory Board reviewed grant requests totaling $1.22 million and recommended awarding nearly all of the $725,000 appropriated for FY2014. “

Evanston was the only community in the Chicago metro area to snag a grant, according to Bill Smith.

“The Evanston grant will go toward construction of an extension for the Church Street Boat Ramp, to upgrade the facility and improve safety,” according to IDNR Director Marc Miller in his announcement.

Governor Pat Quinn stated, “These projects will create jobs, offer recreational opportunities and promote healthy lifestyles,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “They will also promote economic development by adding one more attractive feature to each of these communities.”

The Boat Access Area Development Program provides financial assistance to local government agencies for the acquisition, construction, and expansion or rehabilitation of public boat and canoe access areas on Illinois' lakes and rivers. The program provides up to 100 percent of approved project construction costs and 90 percent of approved land acquisition costs. There is a limit of $200,000 per project per year.

“These grants will help Illinois communities develop safe access for boaters wanting to use public waters for fishing and water skiing or to launch a canoe or kayak,” Miller said. “Providing access to recreational opportunities is a top priority of the IDNR, and we are excited to offer these grants to communities that are helping us accomplish that goal.”

According to reporter Bob Seidenberg, “Evanston has aggressively competed for grants under the current administration. A grant is fueling a major renovation of onetime Dawes Park Lagoon, along with a private contribution from the Arrington family.”

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz praised senior staff members Joseph McCrae, Robert Dorneker and Stephanie Levine for their “excellent job’’ of tapping grants IDNR occasionally makes available to communities.

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