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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2004

OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL SPARK DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT AT QUINCY BROWNFIELD SITE

SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns commitment to transform brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the City of Quincy has been awarded almost $42,000 in Brownfield Redevelopment funds that will be used to assess a large parcel in downtown Quincy for future redevelopment.     
 
   The funding is being provided through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive, economic development package for the West Central region.  Specifically, the grant dollars will be used to assess the environmental condition of a former gasoline station property, located at 601 Jersey Street in downtown Quincy, so it can be cleaned up and redeveloped for commercial real estate.
 
“The fundamental idea behind Opportunity Returns is to create better opportunities for the people of the region to earn a decent living.  Time and time again, we’ve seen contaminated, vacant plots of land that have acted as deterrents to business and community development being transformed into viable future business sites.  The Brownfields Program will continue to act as a key ingredient to successful business communities in the West Central region and throughout the state,” Governor Balgojevich said.    
 
The grants are awarded to Illinois municipalities for environmental assessments of abandoned or underutilized properties in preparation for cleanup and redevelopment.  79 Illinois communities have received over $9 million in funding for environmental assessments and cleanups of brownfield sites under the Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Program.
 
“The redevelopment that will take place in Quincy is an excellent example of how partnerships between state and local officials can improve the entire community,” said Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano. “The resulting benefits to the city and its citizens are the embodiment of what Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns program is designed to accomplish.”
                                                                 
Another West Central community, Pittsfield, was also a recent recipient of the Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Program.   The IEPA committed funding to the city that will enable a vacant piece of land to undergo remediation, clearing the way for a new Niemann Foods grocery store.
 
Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region.  This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months throughout each region, with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  The 45 specific projects that the Governor announced in January for the West Central region are designed to be flexible and effective.  Each plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.


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