Improvements to two public parks in northwest Illinois are among 87 park projects throughout the state supported by $30.3 million in new Illinois grants.

They are designed to help communities acquire open space and develop and improve recreational facilities throughout Illinois.

“Investments in our local parks are investments in our communities,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a Friday release. “Park projects don’t just create jobs and boost local economic development — they open the gateway for a healthier, happier Illinois. Every family in our state deserves nearby access to outdoor public spaces where they can gather with their friends and neighbors — and enjoy some sunshine, too.”

The grants announced today – including Galesburg’s HT Custer Park renovation and a Meridian Park pool house project in Jo Daviess County — are through the state’s Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

OSLAD grants can provide up to one-half of a project’s funds and, when combined with the investment of local matching funds, will support more than $56 million in local park development projects and land acquisitions statewide.

Friday’s announcement included $360,000 for Custer Park in Galesburg, and $100,000 for Meridian Park in Jo Daviess County.

The OSLAD program began in 1987 and has invested $433.5 million in 1,816 local park projects. The program receives dedicated funding from a percentage of the state’s Real Estate Transfer Tax.