The St. Charles Park District was recently awarded a $750,000 matching grant to construct a new Agricultural Lab at Primrose Farm from the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grant program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and funded by the Rebuild Illinois capital program.
The state grant program will distribute a total of $19.7 million in grants to 36 Illinois museums for facility improvement and the development of new exhibits. “Museums are an important economic driver and point of pride in communities throughout Illinois,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Providing funding for capital improvements and exciting new exhibits helps to create jobs, attract more visitors, and boost local tourism.”
“We are grateful for the financial support from the State (of Illinois) to expand Primrose Farm’s operations,” said Holly Cabel, Director of Parks and Recreation. “This project is a significant capital improvement for our community.”
The Primrose Farm Agricultural Lab Development Project is planned for the west side of the farmstead complementing the current restored farm buildings and using the existing driveway with grading and paving enhancements along with wayfinding signage for visitors.
Improvements include a fully accessible, year-round facility with a large multipurpose programming area and kitchenette, an agricultural lab room, public flushable restrooms, staff offices and an entry plaza. The building will include a spacious front porch, an open-air shelter with seating and farm-themed landscaping. The total project cost is estimated at $1.68 million.
A large entry plaza at the front of the facility will draw visitor’s attention with colorful patchwork quilt paving patterns that honor the history of handicrafts and homemade textiles.
“This is a much-needed addition to the farmstead,” said Laura Rudow, Superintendent of Parks & Planning. “It will allow staff to broaden the program offerings about agriculture, local habitats and textiles as well as provide interactive opportunities such as food preservation techniques, farm to table demonstrations, STEM curriculum and local food production opportunities.”
Located at 5N726 Crane Road, Primrose Farm seasonally offers a unique perspective of farm life through lively visits with farm animals, animal care programs, summer camps, school/scout field trips, special events and more.
St. Charles Park District opened Primrose Farm in 2008 to provide interpretive experiences showing the impact of technology and social changes on the lands and farm families of the Fox River Valley.
“We are very excited to enrich the Farm’s visitor/participation experience for all ages,” said Chris Gingrich, Assistant Superintendent of Outdoor Education.