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Year in review: Will County looks back on productive year

The past year has seen many changes in Will County. What hasn’t changed is the overall character of the residents and their interest in seeing the community come together to succeed.

With respect for lives lost, many residents honored the 15th anniversary of the infamous 9/11 tragedy at community events and ceremonies held throughout the county.

The long-awaited multi-modal regional transportation center has been approved and ground broken. The city of Joliet obtained project funding, and construction is scheduled to reach completion by the end of 2017.

Several new businesses have opened in 2016, with several more to come in 2017.

Amazon brought jobs to both Romeoville and Joliet when looking to set up new locations for fulfillment centers within the county. Cadence Premier Logistics did the same when it started construction for its new site, which is expected to move hundreds of jobs from Alsip to Joliet.

The development of the Weber Road/I-55 interchange project is an example of the county’s commitment to showing responsiveness to the community’s needs for safe and adequate access to roads.

There are two areas of concern for the county in the coming months.

The heroin epidemic has plagued not only communities in Will County but also many others across the nation. More than 70 heroin-related overdoses were reported in 2016. County officials have continued efforts to encourage partnerships between area schools and nonprofit organizations to educate community youth of heroin’s consequences.

Secondly, the state of Illinois continues to struggle financially, and talk of cuts to the local municipal distributive funding has county officials eyeing spending cuts to balance the books. A number of nonprofit organizations are dealing with hardship brought on by reduced allotments in general state aid.

On another note, thousands kicked off the holiday season at the annual Light Up the Holidays Parade and Festival in downtown Joliet. The season of giving continues to inspire residents to look out for one another in the communities they live.

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