The Rock Island Parks and Recreation Department recently received two grants and donations for the continued renovation of Douglas Park.
An Open Space Land Acquisition and Development matching grant, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was recently awarded. The awarded amount was for $150,000, which will be matched by Rock Island Parks and Recreation through $50,000 in labor and a $100,000 donation from Gerry Huiskamp, a member of the Friends of Douglas Park. The $300,000 youth ball field project at Douglas Park will consist of new turf, irrigation, ADA access, bleachers, fencing, dugouts, drinking fountains, walkways, and refurbished ADA bathrooms. The youth ball field will be used for Parks and Recreation sports programming including youth baseball, soccer and flag football.
Rock Island Parks and Recreation was also awarded a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust in the amount of $250,000. This grant will go toward the construction of an additional multi-use sports field at Douglas Park used for football, soccer, baseball, and softball.
The Department will be using its scholarship fund and working with the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to provide sports programming for underserved youth at Douglas Park. Both fields will also be available for rental for other organizations.
The Parks and Recreation department and Friends of Douglas Park have completed many projects at Douglas Park to date including: new large ball field with turf, irrigation, dugouts, fencing and scoreboard, new concession stand and press box, new parking lot, new lighted community playground, exterior bench seating, and removal of all exterior fencing giving a more open and inviting feel for the community.
The newly awarded grant funds will go towards the northwest youth ball field, ADA drinking fountains, ADA bathrooms, and multi-use sports field. John Gripp, Director of Rock Island Parks and Recreation says, “If you haven’t been by Douglas Park lately you really need to check it out. This historic park is being restored and it’s great to see the community enjoying it. We still need to raise more funds to fully complete the multi use sport field as well as the last phase of the Douglas Park Project which will be installing lighting on all fields and the parking lot, replacing exterior sidewalks, refurbishing the old firehouse into a youth learning center, and signage along 18th Avenue. I hope to complete this last phase over the next 2 years.”
To support Friends of Douglas Park in rejuvenating and maintaining the vitality of Douglas Park as a local, state and national historical legacy and destination, as well as a safe, well-known and proud location for a variety of neighborhood, community and regional activities you can help in many ways including joining the Friends with a $20.00 annual membership, donating your time by volunteering for work day projects or fundraising events, or purchasing merchandise for sale. Contact FODP at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. For more information on Douglas Park please call Rock Island Parks and Recreation at (309) 732-7275.