Press Releases

For Immediate Release - ComEd, Openlands Award Green to Municipalities, Nonprofits for Protecting Green Space

June 19, 2014



Brandon Hayes,          

(312) 863-6260

Liz Keating

(312) 394-4111


ComEd, Openlands Award Green to Municipalities, Nonprofits for Protecting Green Space

2014 Green Region environmental grant program to fund 22 projects in nine Illinois counties


CHICAGO (June 19, 2014) – ComEd and Openlands awarded $155,000 in Green Region grants to 22 municipalities, park districts, and forest preserve districts throughout northern Illinois to support their continuing efforts to conserve and protect improve public open spaces.

The Green Region program in Illinois—a joint effort by ComEd and Openlands to fund municipal conservation and environmental projects—relieves some of the financial strain faced by municipalities forced to make significant cuts to environmental programs due to budget constraints. The grants fund open space projects at the municipal level focusing on conservation, preservation, protecting endangered species, and improvements to local parks and recreation resources. Each grant applicant was eligible for a maximum of $10,000 per project.

Openlands, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on land conservation, is administering the Green Region program. Municipalities throughout northern Illinois submitted their applications for a Green Region grant earlier this year. The applications were reviewed by an advisory committee of local environmental leaders selected by ComEd and Openlands.

The grants were distributed this week, and grantees have eighteen months to expend the funds on their projects.  Like last year’s recipients, all of the projects provide a strong and immediate public benefit.  

The 2014 Green Region grant recipients are:


Cook County

  • City of Chicago, Remediation of Dorchester Community Garden

This project will allow site preparation to be performed at the new location of the 62nd and Dorchester community garden before management of the garden transfers from the city to NeighborSpace.

  • City of Prospect Heights, Natural Areas Restoration

This project will support restoration of two natural areas, the Slough on Wheeling Road and the Prospect Heights Bike Path, under the auspices of the newly-formed City of Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission.

  • City of Rolling Meadows, Completion of Emily’s Prairie

This project will complete the creation of Emily’s Prairie, a new native prairie located between Salt Creek and Rolling Meadows High School

  • Community Park District of LaGrange Park, Forest Road Trail Access

This project, named the Forest Road Trail Access Project, will establish a new bike path across Forest Preserves of Cook County land, which will connect Forest Road in LaGrange Park with the Salt Creek Trail system. It is expected to open to the public in fall 2014.

  • Kenilworth Park District, Mahoney Park Bird Pond Restoration

This project is part of an ongoing effort to revitalize Mahoney Park and will allow the Kenilworth Park District to restore the in-ground bird bath to its original state. Mahoney Park is a wild flower and bird sanctuary officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restoration of the bird bath will benefit local and migratory birds and area residents.

  • Park District of Oak Park, Interpretive Bioswale

This project will allow the Park District of Oak Park to install an interpretive bioswale at the Oak Park Conservatory, which will serve as both a functional and educational tool and will provide educational opportunities on topics such as urban water management, ecosystem function, and the values of native plants.

  • State of Illinois, Dunning Read Conservation Area

This project will support the initial restoration and enhance public access of approximately six acres of this Conservation Area, which will kick-start the long-term conservation management plan, on Chicago’s northwest side.

  • Village of Glenview, West Fork Stabilization in Downtown Glenview

This project will allow the Village of Glenview to enhance public access to and stabilize and naturalize the streambank of the west fork of the north branch of the Chicago River. It represents Glenview’s comprehensive approach toward improving natural habitat and water quality using green infrastructure.

  • Village of Lansing, Downtown Open Space Plan for Fox Pointe

This project will allow the Village of Lansing to sustainably redevelop and convert a key vacant site within the heart of the community’s downtown into a community park containing native plantings and trees.

  • Village of Niles, Niles Rain Garden Project

This project will support the completion of the Niles Rain Garden Project, which will improve a depleted site, educate public officials and residents on sustainable practices, create a pedestrian friendly park, and develop a regional model to encourage others to promote water conservation in their communities.

  • Village of Oak Lawn, Oak Lawn Reforestation Corps

This project will bring together community leaders and elementary and high school students to help reforest Village-owned parkways with high quality native trees, creating habitat, reducing stormwater runoff, increasing air quality and providing students with hands-on learning  about the importance of trees in urban environments.


DuPage County

  • Village of Willowbrook, Lake Hinsdale Park Walking Path

This project will fund the installation of a walking path at Lake Hinsdale Park, increasing access and enjoyment for all who frequent the park and enhancing the site as a destination for residents.


Grundy County

  • Village of Mazon, Primrose Park

This project will allow the Village of Mazon to increase public access to Primrose Park and will include a path, sitting/ fishing docks and benches around two fishing ponds and a walkway bridge.


Kane County

  • Forest Preserve District of Kane County, Pingree Grove Forest Preserve

This project will improve habitat for turtle species at Pingree Grove Forest Preserve through management of invasive species within upland habitat and isolated wetlands used for nesting.

  • Village of North Aurora, Water Wonders Rain Garden

This project will fund the interactive Water Wonders Rain Garden within the Fox River watershed and will include interpretative signage, native plantings, walking path and pedestrian foot bridge to encourage detailed exploration of the garden.


Kankakee County

  • Kankakee River Valley Forest Preserve District, Native Plug Installation

This project expands ecological management and interpretive signage at 30 acres adjacent to the Aroma Land and Water Reserve.


Kendall County

  • Oswegoland Park District, Fox River Observation Platform

This project will allow the Oswegoland Park District to construct an observation platform, seating and steps leading to the edge of the Fox River to provide an area for the public to access adjacent to the Fox River for passive recreation.


McHenry County

  • Marengo Park District, Trail Improvements

This project will allow the Marengo Park District to make the hiking trail more accessible for senior and handicapped citizens, improve the quality of the existing trail and enhance the use and enjoyment of those who visit the site.


Lake County

  • Village of Lakemoor, Open Space and Pedestrian Corridor Plan

This project will allow the Village of Lakemoor to leverage its land acquisition activities to achieve the overall goals of the Village’s Central Area Open Space and Pedestrian Corridor Plan.


Will County

  • Crete Park District, Peter Halligan Nature Park

This project will develop a 6.5 acre park with butterfly habitat, wild bird habitat, a reflection path, benches, signage and an overlook.

  • Forest Preserve District of Will County, Goodenow Grove Trail and Habitat Enhancements

This projects funds trail upgrades and new trails at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve and Plum Creek Nature Center, along with installation of a demonstration prairie and other ecological treatments for habitat improvement.


Winnebago County

  • Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, Ferguson Forest Preserve

This project supports the design and installation of 10 interpretative signs along the trail and at the entrance to the newly acquired Ferguson Forest Preserve, which will encourage visitors to learn about and develop a greater appreciation for their natural surroundings and enhance their experience at the Preserve.


“The variety of projects funded by this year’s Green Region grants is a testament to the efforts of communities across northern Illinois to create and conserve quality open spaces in their communities,” said Jerry Adelmann, president and CEO, Openlands. “Openlands is honored to partner with ComEd to support these stewardship efforts, which are an investment in the future of our region.”

“This innovative program is a natural fit for ComEd’s commitment to protect and conserve natural resources,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs.  “ComEd is proud to invest in the Green Region program and provide needed assistance to advance important environmental initiatives that improve the communities where our customers and employees live and work.”

Green Region was first established by ComEd’s sister company, Philadelphia-based PECO, in 2004. PECO has distributed more than $1.1 million to open space projects in the Philadelphia area.

Additional information on the Green Region program can be found at

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, visit

About ComEd

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


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