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DOWNS - Children playing in Dooley Park in Downs will have new, high-tech playground equipment by summer.

Mayor Jeff Schwartz said new equipment, paid for partly through a $52,500 grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will be "top of the line and last forever."

The grant requires a $52,500 local match, and the village will borrow for it, Schwartz said.

Although specifically benefiting children, the park update will be "good for the entire community," Schwartz said.

Dooley Park, in the heart of Downs, is the site of July 4 celebrations and other community events, including an Easter egg hunt, haunted house and Christmas lights display.

The new playground equipment will be accessible for disabled people and is expected to include some equipment that is interactive.

The grant also will help with upgrading basketball courts. This upgrade, which will include a complete overlay, should be completed in time for the three-on-three basketball tournament held at the park over the July 4 holiday.

The Downs project was one of 58 outdoor recreation projects recently approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Downs used a grant writer from The Farnsworth Group in seeking the grant.

Schwartz said the park project might eventually include an open-air shelter and walking trail. However, Schwartz didn't know if state funding would be sought for these less-expensive improvements.

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