• Megann Horstead

Amended HUD allotment primes Joliet for revitalization loan


The Joliet City Council approved a measure that paves the way for future use of a low-interest loan serviced through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Councilman Larry Hug was the only councilman to vote against the action, which was approved 7-1 during the council’s May 17 meeting.

Upon approving an amendment to the city’s annual HUD allotment, Joliet has the additional option of applying for a Section 108 Loan Pool, which is a low-interest loan, to spur economic, housing and community development throughout the city. In order to apply for the assistance, the city also updated its 2015-19 consolidated plan.

Alfredo Melesio, director of the Neighborhood Services Division, said the city finds that more can be done to address the needs of those with low to moderate incomes, and approving the amendment is a start.

“We want to do this right,” he said. “We only get to provide a loan pool to five times your allocation, which is about $4.5 [to] $4.6 million dollars. For us, we want to look toward larger projects to be able to assist those projects.”

Melesio said there are no immediate plans for the loan pool, but once they’re brought forth and underwritten according to the guidelines set forth by HUD, the mayor and the council will weigh in.

He added that using the funds for the redevelopment of Evergreen Terrace is a possibility, but there’s excitement around a lot of other possibilities in the community.

HUD denotes that any use of Section 108 Loan Housing Pool must meet a set of criteria such as benefit low-moderate-income families; aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight; and meet other urgent community development needs that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community.

Hug noted that he opposed using the loan pool as a revitalization tool because Evergreen Terrace’s redevelopment remains up in the air.

“We’ve talked about it less than a dozen times in the last two years that we’re going to use the CDBG, particularly the money that [HUD] held back from us for Evergreen,” he said, noting how much attention the project has received.

He added that he would change his vote if reassured by the council that Section 108 Loan Pool funds wouldn’t go toward Evergreen Terrace.

Mayor Bob O’DeKirk said it’s not clear what will happen with Evergreen Terrace.

“We tried last summer to come up with [a plan] and we still don’t have access to the property,” he said. “We’re working with HUD. We think that’s going to change, but at this point, I don’t know what the plans are for Evergreen. I don’t think anybody does.”

Joliet secures intergovernmental funding agreement with Metra

City officials reached agreement with Metra that secures $99,000 to fund a portion of the Joliet Multimodal Transportation Center during the city council’s May 17 meeting.

The negotiations allowed the city to fund the relocation of Metra staff and facilities occupying the signal tower and provide support for the canopies serving the Heritage Corridor/Amtrak platforms.

According to the city, the agreement allows Joliet to retain a portion of a $30 million state grant to support the project and provides funding for a bus station.

Budget for 2015 MFT roadways resurfacing sees cost savings

After completing the 2015 motor fuel tax roadways resurfacing project and subtracting a road project, the city announced that it was able to save $389,414.26.

In June, a $3 million contract was awarded to P. T Ferro Construction Co. Subsequent to that action, change orders no. 1 and 2 were approved.

During the May 17 meeting, officials also approved change order no. 3 and payment request no. 6 and final in the amount of $126,887. The plan, according to the city, is to place the road project subtracted from the 2015 resurfacing program and add it to the 2016 plan.

Phase I engineering for Essington, Jefferson street widening

Joliet is moving forward with plans to widen roadways between Essington Road and U.S. Route 52 (Jefferson Street) to Black Road.

Officials approved a Motor Fuel Tax resolution that allots $214,216 for Phase I engineering. This action allows Joliet to remain in compliance with State of Illinois law requiring the mayor and the city council to approve the spending of MFT funds.

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