SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan announced today that he is releasing $245,000 in Illinois FIRST funding for projects in the Northern Illinois, including $150,000 to the Blackhawk Valley Riding for the Handicapped to expand its facility.
This nonprofit organization provides year round physical and speech therapy for people of all ages with physical, mental and/or emotional disabilities, through horseback riding. The facility located at 4950 Illinois 173 in Poplar Grove, will construct a state of the art addition that will consist of a 40-stall barn, two insulated riding arenas, therapy rooms, student and volunteer lounges and spectator seating. This expansion will increase the number of individuals with disabilities served and also helps ensure the safety and accessibility for all riders, visitors and staff. $1,853,000 is being contributed from local foundation, businesses and fundraisers. This project was initiated by State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford.
Other Illinois FIRST grants announced by Ryan:
- $75,000 to the Lena Fire Protection District to help with the purchase of a new tanker.
This project was initiated by State Sen. Todd Sieben, R-Geneseo.
- $20,000 to Stephenson County to give partial reimbursements to 1,200 households within Stephenson, JoDaviess and the Carroll County region who purchase weather radios and to print education material on this subject.
This project was initiated by State Rep. Ronald Lawfer, R-Stockton.
Illinois FIRST funds are not part of the state budget's General Revenue
Fund. Recently, lagging tax collections brought on by a slowdown in the national economy and the terrorist attacks of September 11 have forced the governor to order spending cuts in the General Revenue Fund that amount to less than 2 percent of total spending. Illinois FIRST monies are derived from separate accounts in the state budget -- the Road Fund and the Fund for Illinois Future -- as well as through the sale of state bonds.