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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2004

GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $1 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS FOR CRUCIAL WEST CENTRAL REGION INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced more than $1 million in funding for new sanitation and water drainage improvement projects in the West Central region.  These key initiatives will improve the health and quality of life of West Central region residents, as well as provide 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 West Central region, his comprehensive, pro-active plan for restoring economic opportunity to the area, which he announced earlier this year.
 
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.
 
“When we brought Opportunity Returns to the West Central region in January, we made a commitment to create jobs and get the economy moving again,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “The best way we can accomplish this is to ensure that the region has every opportunity to attract new businesses and expand existing ones.  Providing better water and sanitation infrastructure is a vital part of that effort.”
 
These CDAP initiatives 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 West Central region’s public facilities improvements are as follows:
 
LOCATION
TYPE
DESCRIPTION
COST
Honey Creek Township, Adams County
Design Engineering
Design wastewater collection and treatment system
160,500
 
Village of Biggsville, Henderson County
Public Facilities
Construct water system improvements
227,000
 
City of Colchester,
McDonough County
Public Facilities
Construct municipal water source
272,000
 
Village of Pearl,
Pike County
Design Engineering
Design for new sewer system
152,300
 
Village of Pleasant Hill
Pike County
Public Facilities
Sewer rehabilitation
350,000
 
 
Total:
$1,161,800
 
“The goal of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative is for us to have our ears to the ground, assisting communities with the projects that they identify as being top priorities,” said Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois State Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.  “Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, we are creating opportunity one job at a time.  These grants are a great example that the Governor is listening and responding.”
 
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 tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.
 
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