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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES AN ALMOST $400,000 OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT FOR BOND COUNTY HOUSING REHABILITATION PROJECT

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $375,950 in funding for the rehabilitation of 15 owner occupied homes in Greenville.  These home improvements will drastically enhance the living environments and quality of life for low-income and disabled residents in the Bond County, as well as building the capacity for economic growth.  This aggressive effort to improve living conditions for the region’s most underserved residents is part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive, pro-active strategy for restoring economic opportunity to the Southwest region.
 
“This Opportunity Returns grant will help build stronger, more vibrant communities that will be in better position to attract investment and support business growth and retention. This grant program is a great example of the bottom-up approach we’re taking towards economic development. Community by community, we’re expanding economic opportunity to more people in Greenville and throughout the Southwest region,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
 
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 Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administers the program.
 
Gov. Blagojevich has developed the following objectives for the CDAP program:
 
·        Strengthen community economic development through the creation of jobs, stimulation of private investment and strengthening the tax base
 
·        Improvement of public infrastructure and elimination of conditions which are detrimental to health, safety and public welfare; and
                                                           
·        Conservation and expansion of the state's housing stock in order to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for persons of low-to-moderate income and the developmentally disabled.
 
This CDAP grant being provided to the Southwest region falls under the third objective.  It is designed to help provide safe and sanitary living conditions for low-to-moderate income residents. 
 
“This Opportunity Returns grant is a great example of how innovative partnerships between state and local government can accomplish key objectives that make an immediate and tangible impact in individual communities.  In this Southwest community, almost $400,000 will be invested directly into improving the local housing stock in Greenville.  These are investments that will improve the foundation of this community and position it for economic growth in the near future,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
 
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy 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 – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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