Streator seeks grant to continue Marilla Park improvements

Project would add parking lot, shelters to pond area

Last summer, the Marilla Park pond in Streator was dredged to make the water deeper to improve fishing and help the water gain more depth to freeze in the winter for ice skating.

Now, the Streator City Council wants to add sidewalks and picnic shelters for visitors.

The city is seeking a $185,355 grant Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to pay for 90% of the improvements. The request, however, may fall to a 50% match if the city doesn’t score high enough in the grant’s guidelines to qualify for the 90%.

The project also would improve parking around the Marilla Park pond and install gabion baskets on the south edge of the pond to further improve fishing and ice skating access.

Last summer, dirt was dredged from the Marilla Park pond thanks to volunteers from the International Union of Operating Engineers 150. Dredging is the process of scooping out mud, weeds and garbage from a body of water’s bed in order to make it deeper. City Manager David Plyman said the project would have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete were it not for the volunteers.

The grant application at Marilla Park is the second the city approved Wednesday. Another request was for $131,737.50 to buy land adjacent to the Vermilion River, to the north of the Oakley Avenue bridge, in an effort to install a canoe launch and network a floating path with the Hopalong Cassidy Canoe Launch.

Plyman said the two grant applications both provided by the IDNR are not competing with each other, because one is for land improvements and the other is to purchase land. The OSLAD grant is issued in those two different categories.

Derek Barichello

Derek Barichello

Derek is a Streator High and University of Illinois graduate. He worked at the Albany-Herald in Albany, Ga., and for Sauk Valley Media in Sterling, before returning to his hometown paper. He's now news editor for both the NewsTribune and The Times.