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$2.8 M grant award will help fund park district's new community center

Wed February 7, 2024

Batavia Park District recently was awarded a grant from an Illinois Department of Natural Resources program that will help fund renovations for the future Patrick J. Callahan Community Center building at 150 Houston St. in downtown Batavia.

The IDNR Park and Recreational Facility Construction Act (PARC) grant program is part of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's Rebuild Illinois capital improvement program. The park district will receive $2.8 million over the course of the project.

Callahan Community Center is slated to open in 2025. Batavia Park District purchased the 12,420-square-foot, two-story building in 2021. It will be repurposed into a community recreation center to increase the district’s indoor recreation space.

“The district is especially excited about this project because it will use our reserves and capital budget to pay for construction without raising taxes,” said Batavia Park District Executive Director Allison Niemela. “The future plans will address the changing needs and trends of the community benefitting residents of all ages.”

In 2022, the Batavia Historical Society signed a donation agreement with the Park District and donated an initial contribution of $430,000 to the district to go toward the acquisition and improvement of the property to create additional collections storage space, a museum lab, curatorial workroom and administrative space for museum staff.

The center's other amenities include a community room for local organizations to meet and/or host board meetings, an active older adult multi-purpose room to be used as a social gathering space for activities such as adult trivia teams that can easily transition as a game space for the Batavia Senior Citizens Club, an enrichment room for children and administrative spaces for staff moving from the Civic Center. The facility will become ADA accessible with an elevator and ramps.

In total, 13 recreation projects across the state were awarded more than $28 million to acquire or develop land for recreation or public access use. Local governments match the value of the grant. The remainder of the Callahan Community Center project will be funded through the district's capital development program.

Renovations include demolishing existing offices, restrooms and closets; installing an elevator; and carpentry, drywall, electrical, mechanicals, and plumbing, along with safety systems, finishes and furniture. The parking lot will be modified to be ADA accessible.