After years of using various spots for programs and practices, the will have a place to call home.
The New Lenox Park District was awarded a $2.5 million state grant Monday on behalf of the Special Recreation Association, and the money will go toward a recreation center in New Lenox constructed with special attention for the association's participants, which parents say is something they don't get anywhere else for their children.
The building would include a wheelchair-friendly gym and classrooms, a teaching kitchen and other accessible features. Only 22 communities received grants from the $50 million pool available from the state.
"It's just an outstanding opportunity to provide more recreation space for the community and maybe even allow for more members and programs now," said Keith Wallace, the recreation superintendent.
The association serves people with special needs from the , Manhattan, , New Lenox and Peotone park districts. It submitted a grant application to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in late November for a 24,000-square-foot building in the Heather Glen subdivision off Laraway Road.
The planned recreation center will cost about $4.5 million total, and the Special Recreation Association has another $1 million saved for the project.
"We're in good shape, but we've still got to do a lot of fundraising," Wallace said. He didn't have a timeline for when the center could break ground but said the association will be discussing those details this week.