UTICA – Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn commended Illinois-based Grainger today for its $50,000 contribution to help repair the north-central Illinois town of Utica that was leveled by a tornado in mid-April. The tornado almost completely devastated downtown Utica and left eight people dead.
“Utica and its residents can begin to reconstruct their lives and their community thanks to the generous contribution of Grainger,” said Quinn. “Utica was reduced to rubble as the tornado tore through the town, but the twister didn’t destroy the resilience and determination of Utica’s residents.”
James T. Ryan, Grainger Group President, presented Quinn with a check for $50,000 made out to Illinois Main Street, which will be funneled to business owners in Utica through grants. The contribution is part of the Grainger Rebuilding AmericaSM program, designed to help local businesses rebuild following disasters.
"We hope our contribution will help Utica's businesses recover and restore the beauty and prosperity of this historic downtown area," said Ryan. "Grainger is committed to helping communities repair and maintain their facilities, particularly when disaster strikes. We are proud to support the mission of Illinois Main Street."
Additionally, Quinn announced Utica’s inclusion to the Illinois Main Street program. The program that is dedicated to downtown improvements, historic preservation and economic development will be committed to creating a comprehensive program of assistance specifically for downtown Utica. Main Street leaders will reach out to other corporations and not-for-profits to encourage others to follow Grainger’s lead.
“I’m proud to have Utica as part of the Main Street family,” said Quinn, welcoming the hard-hit community. “Main Street is ideal for a community such as Utica, which will greatly benefit from the revitalization support of the program.”
Quinn was joined at the press conference by Illinois Senator Pat Welch (D-Peru), State Representative Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley), Utica Mayor Fred Esmond, Utica village trustees, Grainger representatives and many of Utica’s 1,000 residents.
"Main Street helps communities to foster a spirit of volunteerism, a sense of place and a new civic pride," Quinn said, after perusing the damage of downtown Utica, located about 90 miles southwest of Chicago. “Grainger’s big-hearted contribution will enable the Main Street program to efficiently support Utica’s reconstruction process.”
Grainger has served local businesses in the Utica community for more than a decade from its branch locations in Peoria, Downers Grove and Rockford. Grainger is North America’s leading distributor of facilities maintenance supplies and has 20 branches throughout the state.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Office administers the Main Street program of Illinois, one of 40 states that belong to the national program administered through the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Over the past decade, the Main Street program has grown from nine towns to include 55 communities across Illinois.
Illinois Main Street represents one of the state's most effective public-private partnerships for economic development and community renewal. Since its inception, designated communities have reported net gains of more than 1,300 new downtown businesses, and created 2,892 full-time jobs and 2,053 part-time jobs. Main Street projects have spurred more than $103 million in public improvements and more than $315 million in private reinvestments in their downtowns.
W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE: GWW), is the leading supplier of facilities maintenance products serving businesses and institutions throughout North America. Through its network of nearly 600 branches, 17 distribution centers and multiple Web sites, Grainger helps customers save time and money by providing them with the right products to keep their facilities running.