Tag: Gov. Pat Quinn

Work on Maywood Park District’s $500K Exterior Redesign to Begin This Month

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An aerial view of the Maywood Park District’s headquarters at the corner of 9th Ave. and Madison St. | Google Earth

Friday, June 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Maywood Park District’s headquarters at the corner of 9th Avenue and Madison Street will get an extreme exterior makeover this summer. Construction is scheduled to start on June 19 and end by late September or early October, park district officials said.

The redesign includes the installation of pingpong and game tables, the resurfacing of the parking lot, the renovation of the outdoor garden, the installation of a flower bed island in the lot, brand new fencing, a new outdoor basketball court that could be converted into additional parking during the winter months, and a t-ball and soccer field designed for smaller children, among other improvements.

The park district board has secured Hitchcock Design Group as the lead architectural firm after an open bidding process. According to its website, Hitchcock has offices in Austin (Texas), Indianapolis, Chicago and Naperville.

The district has also identified a general contractor through an open bidding process. The park district board is expected to vote to hire the firm at its next meeting on June 13.

Toni Dorris, park district’s executive director, said that the district is waiting for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to sign off on sewer work that would be a prerequisite for the grounds improvements.

“We have storm sewers that have been collapsed for a quite a while and it makes no sense to build on top of something that’s messed up,” Dorris said.

“The storm sewers need to be fixed so we can put in brand new pavement, grass, drains and [other additions]. We want to make sure everything runs into the 9th Avenue storm system properly,” she said, adding that district should get approval from the MWRD sometime next week.

The roughly $500,000 project is fully funded, with half of the money coming a state grant that required matching funds.

The district secured a loan from Hinsdale Bank in order to match the grant amount, Dorris said. As a condition of securing the loan, the district embarked on a period of austerity, which included enacting significant budget cuts.

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A photo of architectural drawings of a proposed $500,000 exterior rehab project of the Maywood Park District that is set to begin on June 19. | Michael Romain/VFP

An additional state grant, worth $1.62 million, will go to fund the rehabilitation of the district’s long-abandoned facility at 809 W. Madison St.

The grant had originally been given to the district in 2014 under former Gov. Pat Quinn. Shortly after he took office, though, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an executive order suspending a range of “nonessential” state spending.

The suspended funding included the two grants that the park district had planned on putting toward renovating the 809 building and enhancing its grounds. Last year, however, the state freed up that funding. 

The $1.62 million grant requires the park district to raise 10 percent, or $162,000, on its own in order to receive the total grant.

At the time when the grant money was received, the district had a limited period to raise the matching money, with officials embarking on an ambitious fundraising campaign that was ultimately suspended.

Park District Commissioner Terrance Jones said that the campaign, which entailed the district hosting small events and projects designed to raise the money, didn’t generate much revenue. Eventually, the deadline for raising the money expired.

The state has since granted the district a one-year extension. The district has until July 1, 2017 to come up with the money, Jones said.

“Prior to my arrival the district was having fundraisers to come up with that 10 percent so that they wouldn’t have to borrow the money, but once I got in there I realized that time was running out,” Dorris said. “Even if we had a fundraiser every week [the district would still be short of the matching amount].”

Dorris said that she recommended that the district seek out a single bank that would loan the district money to match the funding for both grants.

“If we have to pay something back, let’s pay for something that’s worthy of paying back,” Dorris said.

Dorris added that Hinsdale Bank has expressed interest in loaning the district the matching amount for the $1.62 million grant as well, but the lending process has been held up because an initial financial plan developed by the park district prior to her arrival did not budget for a sprinkler system.

“Hinsdale has stated that they want to help us but they need true numbers, because what we presented to them so far doesn’t include the cost of a sprinkler system,” Dorris said, adding that a sprinkler system in a building the size of 809 W. Madison could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the construction budget.

The additional cost means that the district’s original plans for the building, which had included state-of-the-art conference rooms, computer labs and lounge areas, may likely need to be pared back.

Dorris said that the district holds regular meetings that are exclusively devoted to discussions about grants. The next grant-only meeting is on June 29, 6 p.m., at 921 S. Madison St. in Maywood. VFP 

This article has been updated to correct for the location of the storm sewer system. Village Free Press regrets the error. 

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Governor Quinn Launches New Online Marketplace for Affordable Health Care Statewide

The following is a press release issued by the Illinois Government News Network:

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today launched Get Covered Illinois, the state’s comprehensive education and enrollment online platform for uninsured residents to sign up for health coverage under the Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Illinois.

“Today we are launching a new state of health care for more than one million of our uninsured relatives, loved ones, friends and neighbors,” Governor Quinn said. “Get Covered Illinois – the state’s new health insurance marketplace – will make health care more affordable than ever for those who need it. While there may be bumps along the way, this is a turning point in our nation and the state as we strive to provide decent health care to all.”

GetCoveredIllinois.gov is the official website marketplace where individuals, families and small business owners can get connected to their new health insurance options with coverage starting Jan. 1. The state is working with community groups in every corner of the state to provide direct enrollment assistance. Get Covered Illinois will be robust with eight major companies that are participating:

  • Aetna Life Insurance Company
  • Coventry Health and Life Insurance Company
  • Coventry Health Care of Illinois, Inc.
  • Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc.
  • Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company (Blue Cross)
  • Humana Health Plan, Inc.
  • Humana Insurance Company
  • Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company

“Illinois is excited and proud to be launching the most ambitious wellness initiative in our state’s history,” Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas said. “This will require a massive education and sign-up effort, and we are committed to working with our partners across the state to ensure that all of those who are eligible know about their options and are able to select a health plan that meets their needs.”

All Marketplace plans cover important health benefits, including doctor visits, hospital stays, maternity care, emergency room visits, mental health services, chronic disease management, prescriptions and more. No one will be denied coverage because they are sick or have a pre-existing condition like asthma, diabetes or cancer. Preventive care will be covered at no cost to the patient. Individuals and families with income of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level – $45,000 for individuals and $95,000 for a family of four – will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the marketplace.

“Illinois’ health insurance plan rates are lower than many other states and 25 percent lower than earlier predictions,” Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron said. “Most people will also get help paying for their plan and many will be eligible for low-cost or free health coverage.”

“This is an exciting day for the people of Illinois,” Get Covered Illinois Director Jennifer Koehler said. “We are now on the cusp of achieving an historic advance in the health and well-being of our state.”

Get Covered Illinois is for any Illinois resident who had insurance, lost it and wants it again; residents who could never afford or obtain insurance before; or for those who have never attempted to get insurance but now must comply with the law.

From October 1 to March 31, officials hope to enroll at least 300,000 in the Marketplace. Enrollment can take place online; with the help of a trained specialist over the phone by calling the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk at 866-311-1119; or in person at a state community partner with trained navigators to assist. The website will feature community partner locations by zip code.

GetCoveredIllinois.gov includes a screening tool that asks users several simple questions about their income and family size and then directs them either to the Marketplace or to ABE (ABE.Illinois.gov) – the state’s new smart online application system where consumers can apply directly for Medicaid, nutrition and income assistance.

GetCoveredIllinois.gov includes a screening tool that asks users several simple questions about their income and family size and then directs them either to the Marketplace or to ABE (ABE.Illinois.gov) – the state’s new smart online application system where consumers can apply directly for Medicaid, nutrition and income assistance.

For more information, go to GetCoveredIllinois.gov. VFP

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