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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2004

OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO SOUTH BELOIT WILL SPARK IMPORTANT REDEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION

SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform Brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the city of South Beloit, in Winnebago County, will be awarded $120,000 to conduct site assessment work at the former Beloit and Goodall Oil Foundry sites at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 75.
 
The funding is being provided through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Grant program as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development plan for the Northern Stateline region.
 
“By forming innovative partnerships and targeting resources at the local level, Opportunity Returns, in just a short time, has helped spark economic revitalization in communities throughout the Northern Stateline region.  While there is much work to be done, the Brownfields Redevelopment Program is proving itself to be a great complement to this plan by investing in communities that need a lift - clearing the way for new ideas and endeavors to take off and become a reality.  Cleaning up abandoned industrial sites and vigorously marketing them as locations for new business in South Beloit is the starting point for job creation and new growth in this area,” Governor Blagojevich said.
 
Opportunity Returns continues to support important economic development projects that will make crucial contributions to communities throughout our region.  We must take advantage of every resource South Beloit has to offer, and the Governor is helping us lay the foundation for a promising future by cleaning up mistakes of our past,” South Beloit Mayor Randy Kirichkow said.  
 
South Beloit will use this grant to conduct investigation on these sites and provide oversight work under the authority of the Illinois EPA’s Site Remediation Program.  The grants are awarded to Illinois municipalities for environmental assessments of abandoned or underutilized properties in preparation for cleanup and redevelopment.  
 
“Brownfields grants help communities like South Beloit with the funding they need to evaluate the environmental impact of the past uses of property and enables them to form a plan to rehabilitate the site for redevelopment,” said Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.
 
The 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 for the region was the product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  Opportunity Returns contains tangible actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to business.  The 30 specific projects that the Governor announced last October for Northern Stateline region are designed to be flexible and effective.  This plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.


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