Park Forest is rolling out a new vehicle sticker for 2023-24 that touts the Village’s grant funding success since 2005.
The new sticker offers a picturesque view of the Village’s Central Park Wetlands just above language that refers to Park Forest as “A Municipal Leader in Grant Funding.” The sticker goes on to note the awarding of over $45 million in grants the Village has secured since 2005.
Larrie Kerestes, Park Forest’s director of community development, said that grant funding has been crucial to the financing of infrastructure projects, like water main replacement that comes at a cost of $1 million per mile.
"If we didn't have these grants, then this money would come from the general fund," Kerestes said.
That means tax payers would have financed much more of the cost of improvements, or improvements would have been much fewer.
Kerestes said residents might not realize, but the grants the Village received greatly reduced taxpayer funding for major projects like the resurfacing of Shabbona Drive and the overhaul of Somonauk Park.
Mark Pries, the finance director, said that it is uncommon for a community to land the level of grant funding the village has over the last few decades.
"I am not aware of any other local or regional municipality that has received anywhere close to the amount of grants we have," Pries said. "The majority of large-dollar grants require "shovel ready" projects which means we have to ensure these projects are ready to go with minimal additional steps."
Pries explained that Park Forest plans ahead and has large projects ready when a grant opportunity presents itself.
"It's all about proper planning," Pries said.
Pries added the most significant impact to the public from grant awards are COPS grants that fund additional police officers, SAFER grants that fund additional firefighters/paramedics, and infrastructure grants that finance water and sewer improvements along with road reconstruction/resurfacing.
The new Park Forest vehicle sticker goes on sale March 1 and is available for purchase at Village Hall and online. For more information, visit villageofparkforest.com/finance