Grant funding has provided the Wilmington Island Park District plenty of extra summer help, and now the district is looking at the potential for assistance that will help with operations year-round.
The district has applied for about $100,000 in grants administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to bolster its staff roster.
Park director Renee Chavez told the Board of Commissioners last week that the district applied for the same grant it has received for the past two years. The youth grant will bring high-school aged staff on for the summer months. This year, she wants to hire more 16- to 19-year-olds, for fewer hours each, because she's found that they want to have some summer fun in addition to earning a wage.
Last year, the district employed six teens for 40 hours per week. Chavez said quite a few of the workers couldn't do the whole 40 hours because of other commitments.
The district has also asked for funding to hire three young adults, age 19 or above, to serve as summer supervisors, and hopes to secure grant funds for year-round employment of 18- to 25-year olds to help the district start a before, after and day off school program.
If the district is successful in obtaining the grants, its staff costs could be reduced, allowing the district to build reserves for when that additional funding is not available.
"That would really help our staffing dollars here," Chavez commented.