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June 2, 2004


SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced nearly $2 million in funding for new sanitation and water drainage improvement projects in the Northwest region.  These key initiatives will improve the health and quality of life of Northwest region residents, as well as provide the necessary infrastructure for economic growth.  This aggressive effort to improve the quality of infrastructure and public facilities is a major theme of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative for the Northwest region, his comprehensive, pro-active plan for restoring economic opportunity to the area, which he announced last October.
“When we announced our Opportunity Returns plan for the Northwest region last year, improving public infrastructure was a central goal,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “The reason is simple: communities need good water and sanitation in order to attract new business and create new jobs.  These Community Development Assistance Program grants will help make the Northwest region a very attractive place for businesses looking to relocate and expand.”
The funds for this initiative are part of the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP), a federally-funded grant program that assists Illinois communities by providing grants to local governments to help them in financing economic development, public facilities and housing rehabilitation projects. The program is targeted to assist low-to-moderate income people by creating job opportunities and improving the quality of their living environment.
The CDAP grants address a crucial need for the region.  Communities with established infrastructure are under constant pressure to upgrade and rehabilitate their systems to keep up with changing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, changing populations and changing needs.  As more rural water wells are becoming undrinkable, rural water providers assume even greater importance. 
Adequate sewer and water service is also vital to community and economic development.  Without basic infrastructure, communities cannot compete for company relocation and expansion, but with a healthy infrastructure in place, communities can create jobs and prosper. 

The Northwest region’s public facilities improvements are as follows:

City of Kewanee
Henry County
Public Facilities
Connect target area to sewer system
Dunleith Township JoDaviess County
Public Facilities
Water system improvements Mt. Vernon Homeowners Association
Village of Warren
JoDaviess County
Public Facilities
Upgrade wastewater treatment system
Village of Dana 
LaSalle County
Public Facilities
Extend water lines to unserved area Tri-Community Rural Water District
Village of Harmon
Lee County
Public Facilities
Construct water system improvements
Village of Steward,
Lee County
Public Facilities
Construct municipal well

“The Governor created Opportunity Returns because the old top-down way of doing business just didn’t work here in Illinois.  Our new community-based approach allows us to have our ears to the ground on the local level, which means we can be more responsive to what this part of our state needs.  These CDAP grants address an important need in the Northwest region, and we think they will go a long way to spurring economic growth,” said Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

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 Northwest region was the product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  The more than 30 projects that the Governor announced last October for Northwestern Illinois 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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