The state of Illinois is offering
these grants for a limited period of time in an effort to help
communities. The reasons for doing this are threefold:
- Protect public health and the environment.
- Help the community get properties back on the tax rolls.
- Improve the quality of life.
The state offers up to $240,000 in 70-30 grants to
municipalities. The municipalities choose the properties that will
be served by this funding. They may be public or private properties.
The state covers 70 percent of the costs. The remaining 30
percent may be covered by in-kind services that the city provides
during the process. The city engineers, street department, lawyer,
clerks and other city workers will be heavily involved, supplying
their time and skills, and with good bookkeeping, those documented
costs will significantly affect the 30 percent match to be provided
by the city.
The property owner may be asked to cover any shortages on the
city's portion but will be kept informed of any expenses as the
project proceeds. The property owner can also stop a project for any
reason with no negative consequences at any given time. The goal is
simply to get as many properties cleaned up as possible.
Davison explained that site remediation is a multistep process
that takes time. Before any work begins, historical background is
collected. Next soil and groundwater samples are gathered. Then a
cleanup program is developed and remediation is planned, she said.
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Illinois currently has 98 sites being cleaned up under this grant
program, Davison said. One-third of those sites are underground
storage tanks. The project does not accept sites in need of asbestos
or lead paint cleanup. Those are simply too intensive and costly to
fit under this program, she said.
Aldermen were supplied with a list of local properties that have
had EPA investigations. A number of properties on that list have not
been closed out. It was noted that some of these are simply in a
waiting period, and no further work needs to be performed toward
remediation of the site.
While two property owners have already availed their properties
of the process, buildings and grounds chairman Derrick Crane said
that he would like to meet with his committee to review the list of
properties on the list. Possibly the committee will contact some of
the owners. He hopes that maybe some of those property owners will
voluntarily come forward before his committee selects the first
Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership director Rob
Orr, who introduced the opportunity a few weeks ago, was on hand to
continue offering his support in the process. "I suggest you limit
the number of startups, as it could be cumbersome starting," he
said. You can add more later, he said. Many properties could be
addressed during the three years the grant provides.