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VILLA GROVE — The mayor of Villa Grove said a state grant announced Tuesday will allow the city to build a new community center on its south side.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced the $2,140,300 grant Tuesday.

While the final overall cost for the project are not yet available, Mayor Cassandra Eversole-Gunter said the state money should cover more than half of the project.

“Our old community center was torn down a number of years ago, so this is exactly what we have been waiting for,” Eversole-Gunter said. “We’re thrilled.”

The center will be constructed at Richman Park, which is already known for its outdoor athletic fields.

The new community center will make a number of indoor activities possible at the park.

“We’ll have a new gymnasium with a full basketball court and the ability to play volleyball,” she said. “There will be locker rooms, seating for fans and even an elevated mezzanine/walking track area.”

The city plans to use the mezzanine to host yoga, aerobics, games and craft activities.

“We will also have a kitchen area, a concession stand for the park, restrooms and a storage area,” Eversole-Gunter said. “This will be a great asset for our community.”

Eversole-Gunter said it is too early to determine when construction will start and when the center will be open.

“We just got the news about the grant today, so we don’t yet have a timetable for the project,” she said.

“Providing funding for local governments to construct and renovate facilities where families and individuals can enjoy recreation opportunities is a win-win for local governments and the citizens living in those communities,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the natural resources department.

Money for the grant comes from the state’s Park and Recreational Facility Construction Act grant program.


Tim Mitchell is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@mitchell6).