SPRINGFIELD – The Office of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the release of 11 state grants to fund various public improvement construction projects throughout the state.
The projects had been frozen by the governor when he took office so that a thorough review could be made of the appropriateness of each initiative and the feasibility of canceling some of the initiatives. In the case of these grants, it was determined that the state had either previously awarded contracts or already expended funds.
A special review panel made up of Julie Curry, the governor’s deputy chief of staff for Labor and Economy; John Filan, director, Bureau of the Budget; and Jack Lavin, director, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is in the process of judging hundreds of other proposals by members of the Illinois General Assembly on the basis of permanent job creation, public health and safety and educational enhancements.
The projects released today include:
- Springdale Cemetery, Peoria, $1 million for capital improvements for the 227-acre historical cemetery that was chartered in 1857. Improvements to the cemetery, located at 3014 N. Prospect Road, will include repairs to roads, sewers and structures at the cemetery.
- Methodist Medical Center Foundation, Peoria, $1.25 million for expansion of the Cancer Biology Program and Laboratory Animal Care Facility at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, One Illini Drive. The grant will be used to support planning and remodeling costs and laboratory equipment.
- Lewis and Clark Memorial Tower, Hartford, $2 million for construction of a viewing tower. The project includes construction of a 150-foot steel and concrete tower with observation decks, restrooms and a gift shop. The tower is to provide a legacy to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Springfield Center for the Arts, Springfield, $5.5 million to purchase and renovate the 80,000-square-foot former Masonic Lodge, 420 S. 6th St., into a state-of-the-art facility with two working theaters, additional performance venues, a ballet rehearsal hall, offices for arts organizations and an art gallery.
- Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, $5 million for the construction of a new enclosure to house the U-505 German World War II submarine captured by the U.S. Navy in 1944. The submarine was brought to the museum in 1954 and is a National Historic Landmark and the museum’s largest artifact.
- Blackburn College, Carlinville, $538,581, for construction of a new visual arts building to be attached to an existing performing arts building. About $1 million has already been expended on the new building, which will be approximately 15,000 square feet and include classrooms, faculty offices and a graphics computer laboratory.
- Blackburn College, Carlinville, $170,000 for construction of four tennis courts to be used for intercollegiate and intramural competition, as well as, recreational use by students and the general public.
- Village of Essex, $1.7 million (three grants: $635,000, $815,000 and $250,000) for construction of a sanitary sewer collection system and treatment plant, and the construction of a water main distribution system and public water supply. The project will eliminate an inefficient, existing private system and provide a reliable source of water and sewage treatment for the village’s 600 residents.
- Austin Township, Warrensburg, $20,000 for construction of a handicap accessible township hall meeting room. In addition to its use as a meeting room, the building will serve as a polling place, be available to local groups as a meeting place and provide highway department and road district employees with access to running water and restrooms. Austin Township has already spent $20,000 on the project.