MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — Allerton Park recently received a donation of more than $1 million to help keep the park in good condition.

David Taylor, a civil engineer from Sangamon County and a University of Illinois alumnus, pledged approximately $1.1 million of his estate to the park to help maintain its 1,500 acres of natural areas, 1900-era mansion, 1,500 acres and gorilla statue.

Taylor said he has enjoyed the art and nature of Allerton for decades.

“There are very few places — I think in the world — where you can have a piece of nature where you’re walking a trail somewhere, and all of sudden you come to a little clearing, and there is a work of art there,” Taylor said. “The Centaur, the Sun Singer, the Gorilla and the Bear, I appreciate all of them.”

Park Director Derek Peterson spoke a little about how the park will utilize that donation.

“That will come in the course of a few endowments,” Peterson explained. “So a natural areas endowment, which will help take care of the natural areas. Long-term maintenance, invasive species removal, trail maintenance, things like that. A nice endowment for the retreat center, which will help keep the mansion up to date.”

The park also plans to use the donation to improve accessibility, including a fully-accessible trail, and expanded programming to include artists-in-residence and adult education.