Civic News & Info
Notice of cancellation for SECC Board meeting for May PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Annie Nugent   
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 08:21
There will not be a May 15, 2014 Scott Emergency Communications Center Board meeting.
The next scheduled SECC Board meeting is June 19th at 3:30 p.m.

 
Governor Quinn Honors Illinois Firefighters During Annual State Capitol Ceremony PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 14:10

Governor Honors Two Fallen Firefighters and 44 Others for Life-Saving Acts of Bravery

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis and firefighters from across the state to honor Illinois’ fallen firefighters and those who performed life-saving acts of bravery this year. The recognitions were part of the 21st Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighter Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol. The ceremony paid tribute to two firefighters who died in the line of duty and recognized 44 firefighters or departments for acts of bravery within their communities.

“The bravery demonstrated by the firefighters being recognized here today proves that it takes an extraordinary person to be in this profession,” Governor Quinn said. “It’s important that we thank and recognize these men and women who put their lives on the line – day in and day out – to protect us. Let us reflect on and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Two firefighters who died in, or as a result of, the performance of duty were honored during the ceremonies as their families were presented with the Duty Death Gold Badge. Those recognized include the late Chris Brown, a firefighter with the Hudson Community Fire Protection District and Bloomington Fire Department, along with the late Lawrence “Lance” Stone, a firefighter with the West Union Community Fire Protection District.

“Today we’re also reminded of the dangers of this noble profession, as we solemnly honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty,” Fire Marshal Matkaitis said. “I am proud to thank each firefighter for their dedication to public safety.”

The Medal of Honor Award, the highest award given to firefighters by the state of Illinois, was presented to seven firefighters who were selected for their acts of outstanding bravery or heroism, by which they demonstrated selflessness and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty, under adverse conditions, with the possibility of extreme personal risk. Recipients include:

  • Chicago Fire Department: Lieutenant/EMT John Majka, Firefighter Michael Kappel, Captain/EMT Mauricio Rodriguez, Firefighter/EMT James Wagner
  • Firefighter/PM Travis Hasselbacher, Copperas Creek Fire Department
  • Captain Derek Perry, Galesburg Fire Department
  • Battalion Chief Dan Schiradelly, Oswego Fire Department

Twelve firefighters were recognized for acts of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger. Medal of Valor Award recipients include:

  • Lieutenant Frank DiGiovanni, Bolingbrook Fire Department
  • Chicago Fire Department: Firefighter/EMT Joseph Atkins, Firefighter/EMT Cedric Collins, Firefighter/EMT Michael Diete, Lieutenant/EMT Ronald Ellingsen, Captain/EMT Alfred Kiefer, Firefighter/EMT Kevin Martin, Firefighter John McClorey, Firefighter John Veller
  • Captain Jeffrey Hott, Decatur Fire Department
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Chris Gottschalk, Highland Park Fire Department
  • Fire Chief Michael Vaughn, Washington Fire Department

Seventeen firefighters and departments received the Firefighter Excellence Award for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Recipients include:

  • Alton Fire Department
  • Argenta-Oreana Fire Protection District
  • Director Julie Barclay, Cass-Putnam Rescue Services of Cuba, Illinois
  • Chicago Fire Department: Firefighter/EMT Sean Butler, Firefighter/EMT Jason Flores, Fire Paramedic Edward Gilbride, Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Licato, Engineer/EMT John Meade, Firefighter Robert Murphy
  • Cisco Fire Protection District
  • Firefighter Matt Lewis, Galesburg Fire Department
  • Gardner Fire Protection District: Firefighter Kaylee Bain, Lieutenant Joe Yates
  • Hinsdale Fire Department: Firefighter/Paramedic Daniel Majewski, Firefighter/Paramedic Donald Newberry
  • Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District
  • West Frankfort Fire Department

A Certificate of Recognition Award was presented to the following for dedication to the principles and traditions of the fire service:

  • Chicago Fire Department: Firefighter/EMT Edtismond Johnson, Firefighter Joseph White III
  • Firefighter Brock Dieu, Danville Fire Department
  • Hinsdale Fire Department: Lieutenant William Claybrook, Captain David DeWolf, Firefighter-Paramedic Nicholas McDonough, Firefighter/Paramedic James Nichols, Firefighter-Paramedic Steven Tullis

Nominations were reviewed and winners selected by the Illinois Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Committee.

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HILLTOP CAMPUS VILLAGE RECEIVES AWARDS AT ANNUAL MAIN STREET IOWA CEREMONY PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Scott Tunnicliff   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 13:35

Main Street Iowa Recognizes Outstanding Achievements

Award Winning Projects and Volunteers Honored

Davenport’s Hilltop Campus Village received the two awards, one for Volunteer of the Year and another for Outstanding Achievement in New Construction at the 27th annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration that was held on Friday, May 2 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. HCV Board President Robert E. Lee, Sylvia Runkle, Ralph Kelly, Christopher Meyer, Ann Hutchinson and Jeff Cook represented the Hilltop Campus Village, along with their director Scott Tunnicliff. Also on hand to was Jackie Nickolaus, Vice-President of development for Sherman-Associates, the firm that developed Harrison Loft, this year’s award-winning project. The event was attended by nearly 500 people representing communities across the state. Competitive nominations were submitted for 77 projects and activities within the five categories of design, economic restructuring, organization, promotion and overall program. Nineteen were recognized with awards and two received honorable mention.

The honors were presented by Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). Also attending was retiring Senator Tom Harkin, a long-time advocate of Main Street Iowa from his senate seat in Washington D.C.

“We knew from the very beginning that Main Street Iowa was not a quick-fix solution, but rather an incremental approach to fostering positive change.” stated Governor Branstad. “In my travels across the state, I have seen the program at work in small towns, mid–size cities, urban centers and neighborhood commercial districts. It has had far greater impact than we ever could have imagined in 1985.”

“We must all appreciate the fact that healthy historic commercial districts are a key deciding factor for industrial and business recruitment. In order for us to create 200,000 new jobs, we need healthy Main Streets,” commented Lt. Governor Reynolds. “Taxpayers are certainly getting their money’s worth. Since 1986, for every dollar the state of Iowa has invested in operating the state Main Street program, the private sector in those communities has invested $87.99 into building improvements and acquisitions.”

“It was a memorable evening for all of us, and an inspirational one as well.” added Hilltop Campus Village director Scott Tunnicliff. “The award we received, for the Harrison Loft and the parking lot serving it, was a great example of partners from the city, Sherman-Associates, the Iowa-American Water Company, the RDA and others. All of them saw clearly what this project could mean to our area, and stepped forward to make it happen. We had a sizable group here, and I wish we could have had more to see what is being done in communities of all sizes around the state to enhance the vitality of their communities.”

As a highlight of the evening, a special award was presented to the community of West Union for their innovative thinking, persistence and partnerships to enable success in the implementation of the Green Pilot Streetscape Project as the “Signature Project of the Year.” This award honors a project that rises above traditional award categories in impact and significance. West Union’s project leveraged resources from many local, state and federal partners including the Community Development Block Grant program.

For more information about Main Street Iowa and how all Iowa communities can access commercial revitalization assistance through the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, visit http://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/IDRC/MainStreetIowa, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 515.725.3051.

A list of Main Street Iowa communities and award winners follows. Photographs will be posted at

http://iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/IDRC/MainStreetIowa after May 5.

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Houses on the Move: Unique Urban Infill Project Solves Two Problems PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by T. Brecht   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 07:55

The section of Davenport's 6th Street that winds behind the Republic Companies and Harborview buildings just west of Tremont Avenue is peppered with vacant lots, the result of a rash of foreclosures and "demolition-by-neglect" that ravaged the once-thriving neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s.

The future may be brightening for this corner of the city, however, thanks to a unique public-private partnership between Genesis Medical Center and the City of Davenport.

The solution to one neighborhood's problem started with uncertainty a little further to the north. Last winter, Genesis announced a massive $138.5 million building expansion at its East Rusholme campus. But construction of the new six-story building was expected to require the demolition of 8 to 10 older homes along College and Elm streets in the project's footprint.

"Genesis officials came down to our office to talk about what they needed for re-zoning, and we had the idea to ask them about the city-owned lots we had down on 6th Street," said Bruce Berger, Davenport's interim Community Planning & Economic Development Director.

Earlier in the year, the city's planning department sent out a request for proposals for a designer interested in those lots, preferably one with a unique single-family home project in mind. Unfortunately, Berger said, only one developer responded, and they wanted to build multi-family.

Then a bit of inspiration hit.

"One of the planners said, 'what if we move the Genesis houses down to 6th Street?'" recalled Berger.

It's an ambitious plan. Moving entire houses is neither easy nor inexpensive. The city, however, has more than $1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds that need to be allocated by the end of June or lost.

"It's a use-it, or lose-it situation," Berger said. "Our thought is to apply that to the moving, site preparation and rehab cost once we get the houses on 6th Street."

Originally, the idea was to put the transplanted homes on the city-owned lots on the north side of the street. But a moving consultant said the topography was too steep and the approach too narrow. Instead, the city has secured purchase agreements for several lots on the south side, which the City Council is expected to approve Wednesday.

The initial plan is to start with two houses - 2119 College Avenue and 1312 Elm - that Genesis purchased with the intent to demolish. Genesis is donating the homes to the city and also pitching in on moving expenses.

Work is expected to begin in June,  after the city secures an expert moving firm.

Ken Croken, Vice President for Corporate Communications & Business Development for Genesis, said he's excited to see the homes spared the wrecking ball and used to reinvigorate another neighborhood.

"These homes have housed many generations of Davenport residents," he said. "We are delighted that this project will help see them offer shelter and house even more generations of Davenporters as we move forward with our plans to better serve the community."

3rd Ward Alderman Bill Boom lauded the project for its environmental responsibility, noting that millions of pounds of construction waste would have gone to area landfills. Transplanting the homes - several of which date back to the first half of the 20th Century - will not only re-use existing home stock, but will help retain some of the character and craftsmanship of a traditional neighborhood. Boom hopes this inspires a "green-thinking" developer to take a closer look at the lots on the north side of 6th Street and design an eco-friendly, owner-occupied project.

Berger said the long-term goal is to see the neighborhood bounce back and be a prime target for re-development. The pieces are in place, he said, noting that the Scott County Family Y is planning a large new development on the WG Block property to the west and the popularity and number of apartments in the nearby Warehouse District continues to grow.

"We think this area will appeal to a wide variety of people," Berger said. "Whether that is first-time home buyers, empty nesters looking to downsize or young professionals who want to be near downtown but want to own their own home."

 
Governor Quinn Announces $84,000 in Community Stabilization Grants for Quad Cities Area PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Friday, 02 May 2014 14:21

New $7.2 Million Program Helps Local Governments Across Illinois Secure Abandoned Properties and Strengthen Communities

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $7.2 million investment that will allow communities across Illinois to clear blight and stabilize neighborhoods. The investment includes $84,000 for Rock Island and Whiteside County communities. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to stabilize neighborhoods and return vacant properties to productive use to advance the economy.

“We are starting programs to reinvigorate our economy and strengthen communities in the wake of the national foreclosure crisis,” Governor Quinn said. “This support will give local governments the tools they need to stabilize communities throughout Illinois.”

The investments for today’s announcement come from the new Abandoned Property Program, which is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and funded through filing fees paid by financial institutions. The program was created by legislation Governor Quinn signed into law last year. This builds on the Governor’s March 27 announcement that the U.S. Department of the Treasury will support IHDA efforts to leverage up to $30 million of its federal Hardest Hit Fund resources to eliminate blight in communities around the state.

A total of 53 municipalities, counties and land banks have been approved for the first round of funding based on need, capacity, impact, budget, cost reasonableness and readiness to proceed. Eligible uses for the grants include maintaining weeds and grass, trimming trees and bushes, installing fences to protect the public, and repairing or demolishing abandoned property.

The Quad Cities area communities receiving Abandoned Property Program funds include:

 

·         Moline, $58,909

·         Rock Falls, $26,774

Effective in June 2013, banks and other lending institutions began funding the new program by paying fees on a sliding scale based on how many foreclosures they file each year. For example, an institution that files more than 175 foreclosures must pay $500 per foreclosure, while one with between 50 and 175 must pay $250 per foreclosure, and those with less than 50 foreclosures a year must pay $50 per filing.

“Under Governor Quinn, the state has leveraged every available resource to enable more than one million families to access assistance to stay in their homes and help hard-hit communities thrive again,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said.

“I’m focused on promoting strong development in the Quad Cities region to make sure we are bringing businesses and jobs to the region, and these grants will help in that regard,” State Representative Pat Verschoore (D-Milan) said. “By revitalizing neighborhoods and removing abandoned and vacant homes, we can re-energize neighborhoods and encourage new growth.”

 

“These projects will bring much needed investment to areas that have experienced too little of Illinois’ economic recovery,” State Representative Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) said. “This investment will improve our community’s ability to reclaim areas of blight and underutilization following the wave of foreclosures in recent years.”

Since he took office in 2009, Governor Quinn has:

·         Successfully implemented the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program in Illinois – creating four programs with $445 million in federal foreclosure prevention resources. The latest – the Blight Reduction Program – will help communities eliminate blight starting this summer.

·         Launched the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN), a one-stop comprehensive, free resource to connect struggling homeowners with a safe and trusted source for assistance to keep them in their homes and help them from being victims of mortgage fraud. More than 1 million families have accessed this free assistance through the IFPN. Homeowners seeking assistance should visit the IFPN website at www.keepyourhomeillinois.org or call the hotline at 855-KEEP-411.

·         Created Illinois Building Blocks program – Available in 15 Illinois communities, buyers of vacant homes can access $10,000 in cash assistance to purchase a home. The program also provides funds for the re-development of vacant homes. To date, approximately 800 vacant homes have been purchased through this program.

·         Launched the Illinois Homebuyer Rehabilitation Assistance Program - $6.6 million to 16 public and not-for-profit organizations to allow 240 low- to moderate-income homebuyers of vacant homes to apply for rehabilitation grants in seven targeted communities.

·         Administered the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to purchase and rehabilitate 240 rental units and 106 foreclosed and abandoned homes that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight. An additional 29 blighted properties have been demolished.

·         Launched Welcome Home Illinois, a loan program for first-time homebuyers that provides $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.75 percent for a secure, 30-year fixed rate mortgage. As the spring buying cycle hits its stride, Welcome Home Illinois is generating interest rapidly because the program is tailored to working families with borrower income limits up to 140 percent of the area median income (AMI). For example, a family of three in Marion or Collinsville could qualify earning up to $82,915 in annual household income.

For more information on the programs above, visit www.ihda.org.

IHDA (www.ihda.org) is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and the preservation of affordable housing across Illinois. Since its creation in 1967, IHDA has allocated $12.4 billion and financed approximately 240,000 affordable units across the state.

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