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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES ALMOST $1.2 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS FOR WEST CENTRAL REGION HOUSING REHABILITATION PROJECTS

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced almost $1.2 million in funding for the rehabilitation of 40 owner occupied homes throughout the West Central region. These home improvements will drastically enhance the living environments and quality of life for low-income and disabled West Central residents, 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 West Central region.

"Opportunity Returns has been successful because it is a grassroots initiative that forms key partnerships to build stronger communities where economic opportunity is more abundant. These grants will fund critical improvements in homes throughout the region that are badly in need of refurbishing, and, in doing so, help build more vibrant and attractive communities that are better positioned for economic growth," 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 administers the program.

"Gov. Blagojevich and I believe that when we make grassroots investments to build more vibrant communities, we also build greater economic capacity within those communities. Revitalization efforts such as these make business attraction, retention and job creation much more viable," State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said.

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.

These CDAP grants being provided to the West Central region fall under the third objective. They are designed to help provide safe and sanitary living conditions for low-to-moderate income residents.

 

The West Central region’s housing improvements are as follows:

LOCATION DESCRIPTION COST

Village of Biggsville Rehabilitate 11 owner occupied homes $327,000

Henderson

City of Colchester Rehabilitate 11 owner occupied homes $312,900

McDonough

Village of Gladstone Rehabilitate 8 owner occupied homes $253,200

Henderson

Village of Prairie City Rehabilitate 10 owner occupied homes $297,650

McDouonugh

Total: $1,190,750

"The CDAP grant program is being used to make critical improvements in public infrastructure, stimulate private investment, create jobs and improve our housing stock. Comprehensively, this program is playing a vital role in economic development throughout Illinois. These Opportunity Returns grants to fund housing improvements throughout the West Central region are a vital component of the program and will continue to help accomplish Gov. Blagojevich’s mission of restoring economic opportunity to communities throughout the state," 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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