New Law #8: Grant Priorities for Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Published Date: January 4, 2016
Continuing our countdown of new Illinois environmental laws taking effect on January 1, 2016 is Public Act 99-0391, which provides that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources shall give grant priority to projects that include handicap-accessible playground equipment.
This new law amends the Park and Recreational Facility Construction Act, 30 ILCS 764/10-20, which provides grants to be disbursed by the DNR to eligible local governments for park and recreation unit construction projects. A park or recreation unit construction project means the acquisition, development, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvements, architectural planning, and installation of capital facilities consisting, but not limited to, buildings, structures, and land for park and recreation purposes and open spaces and natural areas.
The Act also provides that DNR must give priority to projects that satisfy criteria established by DNR’s rules “which reflect the useful life of existing facilities and improvements, address public health and safety needs, correct accessibility deficiencies, and reflect outdoor recreation needs and priorities.” The new law clarifies that “outdoor recreation needs and priorities” includes “handicap-accessible playground equipment, such as ramped, ground-level play features, accessible swings, wheelchair accessible tables, adjustable equipment, universally accessible swings, and transfer platforms.”