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September 18, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Announces $500,000 Federal Grant to Help Illinois Develop Comprehensive Flood Recovery Plan
Grant will support efforts of the Long Term Recovery Council

EAST ALTON – Following this year’s flooding across much of the Midwest, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the State has received a $500,000 Economic Adjustment Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support the development of the State’s long-term recovery strategy.
The Governor created the Illinois Long Term Recovery Council last month to develop and assist in implementing a comprehensive strategy to help Illinois communities recover and thrive following damaging floods in western, northern and southeastern Illinois this past June. While the Council was created following the June flooding, last week’s additional flooding underscores the importance of the Council’s work. Deputy Governor Louanner Peters joined EDA Director of Public Affairs Kelly A. O’Brien and Council Co-chairs during an event at the National Great Rivers Museum to accept the grant on behalf of the Governor.
“The State worked closely with FEMA over the last couple of months to address the immediate needs our communities faced following the June flooding. Our priority now turns to ensuring long-term recovery of the state, including enhancing our ability to recover from future disasters. As our Council prepares comprehensive recommendations for confronting future disasters, I am pleased that this federal grant will assist the Council achieving its goals,” said Governor Blagojevich.
“Governor Blagojevich created the Long Term Recovery Council to develop a framework for future state disaster recovery efforts that will help Illinois communities quickly get back on their feet. We appreciate the assistance of the U.S. Department of Commerce in helping Illinois to maintain its leadership in disaster recovery,” said Deputy Governor Peters commented on the State’s long-term recovery strategy.
The Illinois Long Term Recovery Council will convene this month and is expected to submit a final report of plans and recommendations to Governor Blagojevich in early 2009.  The Council will include representatives from state and federal agencies, volunteer organizations and the private sector, as well as, mayors, county board members, and economic development experts from the flood-impacted areas.
The Council will focus on recovery-related issues such as agriculture; housing; critical infrastructure; levees, locks and dams; social and human services, economic and community recovery; and future recovery planning and long-term policy reforms needed to reduce the damage of future floods.  The Council will determine long-term recovery needs, identify critical recovery projects and estimate and advocate for the resources necessary to ensure full economic recovery.  The Council’s recommendations will not only help communities recover from this flood incident but will also enhance the state’s ability to recover from future natural disasters.
The Long Term Recovery Council co-chairs are: Jim Bohnsack, Chairman, Rock Island County Board; Terry Bruce, Chief Executive Officer of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges; Alan Dunstan, President, Madison County Board; and John Spring, Mayor of Quincy.
“There is no doubt that those affected by recent flooding in Illinois face major challenges.  But from disaster comes the opportunity to rebuild even better than before.  The Administration is committed to helping Illinois and all other affected areas nationwide rebuild,” said O’Brien.  “This EDA investment will help design and implement a state-wide long-term economic recovery strategy in response to the summer of 2008 Midwest Floods.  The strategy will incorporate the strengths, weaknesses, goals, objectives and other important information from the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy documents that serve Illinois’ flood-impacted communities.”
“With the June floods behind us and a new round of flooding this past week, it's more important than ever to develop a comprehensive strategy to help communities recover and thrive after significant disasters. This grant will be critical to supporting the Council’s efforts and will help ensure the long term sustainability of our communities,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin.
As a result of wide-spread flooding and severe storms in June, Governor Blagojevich declared 25 counties state disaster areas and sought federal assistance to help people and their communities begin the recovery process.  To date, 18 counties have been approved for federal assistance to individuals who suffered losses related to the flooding, including Adams, Calhoun, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Hancock, Henderson, Jasper, Jersey, Lake, Lawrence, Mercer, Rock Island, Whiteside, and Winnebago.
In addition, 23 counties have been approved for federal assistance to help local governments recoup some of their flood-related expenses, including flood preparations and response, debris removal, and repair or replacement of roads, bridges and other public property.  Counties approved for such assistance include: Adams, Calhoun, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Jasper, Jersey, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, Mercer, Monroe, Pike, Randolph, Rock Island, St. Clair, and Winnebago. 
In early July, representatives from the Governor’s office, IEMA, DCEO, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) met in Springfield to discuss long-term recovery issues, existing programs at the state and federal levels and examples of recovery efforts from other parts of the country.  Information from this meeting will be provided to members of the Council as they begin considering recovery initiatives.


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