County receives $350,000 grant to extend water mains

Winnebago County has been selected to receive a $350,000 grant through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to extend water mains in the Washington Park Neighborhood located on the western edge of Rockford.

The grant, made available through the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP), will provide the majority of the funds necessary to extend the City of Rockford water mains through 11 blocks of the neighborhood and to hook up approximately 30 homes to the city’s water system.

The total project cost is estimated to be $533,000. Since the entire CDAP Grant area is within the Champion Park HOPE VI Revitalization Project area, the Winnebago County Housing Authority (WCHA) will be contributing $158,000 of HOPE VI funds to the project. The remaining $25,000 will be through “in kind” services provided by the Winnebago County Health Department for well sealing and testing.

Homeowners in the CDAP Grant area are currently served by private wells, which were constructed many years ago. Many old wells such as these do not meet sanitary standards for well construction and location, or have deteriorated to the point where they can no longer keep surface contaminants out of the water system. The purpose of the CDAP Grant is to provide qualifying homeowners with a clean, safe water supply and to abandon and seal old wells to protect the underground water.

“We are very pleased to have been selected to receive this grant,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen. “The state has recognized the need to provide these homeowners with safe drinking water. Obtaining this grant has been a combined effort between the county, the health department, the City of Rockford and the Winnebago County Housing Authority. It would not have been possible without all of these groups working together.”

The CDAP Grant will not only benefit current qualifying homeowners, but future residents as part of the HOPE VI Project.

“This is a prime example of how HOPE VI funds can be used to leverage additional funding and improvements,” said WCHA Executive Director Sarah Moyado, speaking of the $158,000 to be contributed by the Housing Authority. “The CDAP Grant will allow us to get the needed water system into an area where we will be building many of the homes that are part of the Champion Park HOPE VI Revitalization. Everyone benefits from a project like this.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin by early next spring. To qualify to be hooked on to the new mains, homeowners in the CDAP project area must provide evidence that they qualify as moderate to low-income. As part of the CDAP Grant, the county will be contacting all homeowners in the project area and provide them with an opportunity to participate.

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