By Michael Romain
THURSDAY, MAYWOOD — State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th) stopped by Village chambers yesterday to present officials with a $500,000 check to be devoted to capital construction. Mr. Welch’s trip to Maywood yesterday is only one stop among a trail of check-dropping the legislator has planned in the upcoming weeks.
“I’m just making my rounds, which will take us through the end of August to towns such as Berkeley, La Grange Park and Westchester,” he said.
The money is part of the $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! plan Governor Pat Quinn signed into law in 2009, in the wake of the financial crisis. When he signed the bill into law, the Governor stated that the funding “provides many long-awaited improvements to our bridges and roads, transportation networks, schools and communities.”
Although the funding is restricted to capital improvements (infrastructure development, facade enhancements, building weatherization, renovations, etc.), it’s allocation is not exclusive to municipalities. Two weeks ago, Mr. Welch presented $300,000 of Illinois Jobs Now! funding to Maywood Fine Arts for the purpose of that organization’s rebuilding efforts following the loss of its primary dance studio, Stairway to the Stars, in a fire that happened in 2010.
And in the following weeks, Mr. Welch plans on presenting funds from the Governor’s plan to even more local capital construction projects, such as Rock of Ages’s proposed senior and veterans home, UFCI Bible College’s beautification of its 19th Avenue location and a project PLCCA has in the works for Madison Avenue.
Mr. Welch said that the Village’s share of the Illinois Jobs Now! money is, in part, due to a conversation he had with Mayor Perkins after her election last spring. “One of the things I did with Mayor Perkins after her election is meet with her in my office and ask her how she could be successful in her new job, and [she answered], ‘Money.'”
“Because of the economic downturn, every governmental entity in the state is suffering from lower tax revenues and typically, what you see neglected first is maintenance of the structure [of buildings, roads, water mains, sidewalks, etc.]. So the state is helping to play is part. This [funding] helps the state stay strong and viable. VFP