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Cook County program to fund infrastructure, projects throughout south suburbs



Water main improvements, roof work on municipal buildings and new fire hydrants in the south suburbs will get money through the Build Up Cook program.

Funding for the projects was recently approved by the Cook County Board, and it’s being paid for with federal COVID-19 stimulus money.

Communities receiving the money were selected based on their ability to pay for projects by themselves, according to the county.

County officials said while there is federal money available, “the barriers to entry are often challenging to communities already managing limited resources, which creates a cycle of further disinvestment.”

The Build Up Cook program “aims to extend a helping hand to municipalities most in need,” according to the county.

The county identified 46 projects in 22 communities, primarily in the south and west suburbs, for funding.

With a $30.5 million total budget from American Rescue Plan Act Funds, the county said construction on projects can begin immediately and is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.

“Through the Build Up Cook program, we are ensuring that our communities, particularly those that have been historically underserved, receive the critical improvements they need,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a news release.

The county said the program prioritizes support to 26 under-resourced municipalities as identified using the 2023 Equitable Allocation Model, past county infrastructure investment and geographic data.

The following towns are receiving funding in the south suburbs:

• Blue Island: $500,000 to replace a roof on a city building and $150,000 for a pump replacement.

• Burnham: $1 million for renovations to the community center.

• Calumet City: $300,000 for replacing fire hydrants.

• Calumet Park: $500,000 for replacing the roofs at Village Hall and police station.

• Chicago Heights: $350,000 to replace fire hydrants and $150,000 to replace water main valves.

• Ford Heights: $1 million is being allocated for water main improvements in the area of 13th Street and 13th Place.

• Harvey: $500,000 for renovations of the city’s police station and $500,000 for a water main project.

• Lynwood: $500,000 for upgrades to Village Hall and the police station, as well as $250,000 for repairs to a pumping station.

• Markham: $750,000 for water main improvements and replacing fire hydrants.

• Park Forest: $500,000 for upgrades to the exterior of the fire training site.

• Phoenix: About $245,000, including sewer line jetting and work on the ceiling in Village Hall.

• Richton Park: $300,000 for work at Glaeser Park.

• Sauk Village: $500,000 for replacing fire hydrants, $350,000 for sidewalk replacements and $50,000 for booster pump upgrades at the village’s main pumping station.

• South Chicago Heights: $120,000 for accessibility improvements at Village Hall, $750,000 for water valve replacements and $220,000 for accessibility improvements at the village’s senior center.

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