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Multiple Bloomington-Normal projects to share $500,000 from State Farm grant

Man runs on trail
Some of the grant money will go toward a natural bird habitat and water feature along Constitution Trail.

Extra funding is on the way for three parks and outdoor projects in Bloomington-Normal.

The money is coming from the State Farm Century of Good Grant. It’s a grant to support environmental care, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency.

The City of Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department and the Town of Normal Parks & Recreation Department will each receive $200,000. The Ecology Action Center (EAC) in Normal will receive $100,000.

Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe says the city is excited to receive the grant, and says the grant money will be put towards work on the O’Neil Park project.

“The grant will provide landscaping for the area, helping rejuvenate the scenery, providing the community with a beautiful place to gather,” Mwilambwe said.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos said the money will help expand and improve Safety Town in Carden Park and create a natural bird habitat and water feature along the “most used portion” of Constitution Trail.

EAC Executive Director Michael Brown said the grant will help the center reach its Tree Corps initiative goals. The initiative’s mission is to plant 10,000 trees per year over the next decade in McLean County.

Six organizations across the country received money from the grant. Bloomington-Normal represented half of them.

The other groups were in Atlanta, Dallas, and Tempe, Ariz.

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Jack Podlesnik is a student reporter and announcer at WGLT. He joined the station in 2021.
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