Thu September 21, 2023
DOWNERS GROVE, IL—Since 2012, the ComEd Green Region Program has provided $2.1 million in green space improvements for communities and organizations in Illinois. Each year, this program awards nearly $200,000 in one-time grants of up to $10,000 each to help support nature preservation, mitigate climate change and provide safe habitats for pollinators and wildlife across northern Illinois. In July of 2023, the Downers Grove Park District was awarded $10,000 as a grant recipient of the ComEd Green Region Program for the Patriots Park Pollinator Habitat Restoration Project.
Patriots Park is one of the Park District’s most beloved and popular destinations. Located at 501 55th Place in Downers Grove, Illinois, the park features a 0.45-mile paved walking path which loops around the 5.8-acre Barth Pond. Constructed in 1978 to serve as a storm water detention facility, the pond is now a popular fishing spot and is stocked regularly by the District. Along the walking path, park-goers enjoy plentiful shade from mature oak and maple trees and can take a rest at park benches to observe wildlife. At the west end of the park, a large playground features two ADA-accessible play areas, and at the east end of the park, visitors can picnic in the large pavilion and cross the newly constructed pedestrian bridge where the pond is fed by a meandering creek.
Mike Stelter, Superintendent of Parks for the Downers Grove Park District, led the efforts to secure the ComEd Green Region Grant for Patriots Park.
“Patriots Park is truly a gem of Downers Grove and is already a popular spot for bird watching, fishing and enjoying nature. The Patriots Park Pollinator Habitat Restoration Project will enhance our park-goers’ experiences by providing a place to observe wildlife utilizing a restored habitat.”
The Patriots Park Pollinator Habitat Restoration Project will begin in late September utilizing the $10,000 ComEd Green Regions Grant, which will be matched by the Park District for a total of $20,000. The project will include installation of a new landscape of native vegetation to create an improved habitat for wildlife, benefit pollinators, improve aesthetics and reduce mowing at Patriots Park.
The new native landscape at Patriots Park will feature low profile prairie and pollinator enhancement plants as well as wet to mesic prairie and wetland edge mixes. Species will include common milkweed, butterfly weed, swamp milkweed, sideoats grama, little bluestem, aster, purple coneflower, and additional pollinator plants. Plant mixes will be suited to each landscape within the park based on typical soil moisture conditions. Visitors will begin to see the results of the fall plantings next spring and areas will fill in and mature over the next 2 to 5 years.
This is the second ComEd Green Regions grant that the Downers Grove Park District has been awarded. In 2019, the District received $5,000 for the Doerhoffer and Whitlock Park Detention Area Plantings, which helped to transform two mowed detention basins and into to native vegetation areas with interpretive signage. This project eliminated mowing, enhanced the habitat, improved water quality and provided educational opportunities and passive park uses.