Will County Center for Economic Development Awarded $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant by U.S. EPA

Will County Center for Economic Development Awarded $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant by U.S. EPA

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Will County Center for Economic Development Awarded $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant by U.S. EPA

Areal view of bridge with traffic

The Will County Center for Economic Development is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

This grant provides funding to identify sites and conduct a range of planning activities, develop site specific clean-up plans, and community outreach related to brownfield sites with an emphasis on the Des Plaines River corridor in Will County. Brownfield sites are those contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants. Once remediated, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into a variety productive uses.

“Turning vacant or underutilized spaces into thriving community hubs is one of the cornerstones of our Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan, and I’m pleased to see the Biden Administration provide funding for brownfields revitalization in Will County,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This support marks another milestone in our journey to advance educational, environmental, economic and health justice for all Illinois residents.”

“Thank you to the U.S. EPA for providing the opportunity and funding for Will County to assess areas of environmental concern,” said Doug Pryor, President and CEO of Will County Center for Economic Development. “This grant will serve as a catalyst for needed cleanup and create opportunities for new growth in long disinvested areas of Will County. This work will help promote private investment, create jobs, and encourage growth in the County’s communities.”

The Center for Economic Development worked closely with the communities of Joliet, Lockport, and Rockdale and the County of Will through the application process. These communities helped develop an outstanding case highlighting Will County’s need to address the environmental and human health issues in brownfield areas. “This grant is an important first step in empowering community-focused development in these neglected areas,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. “By eliminating blight and reducing the risk of environmental contamination in this region, we are supporting greener, healthier neighborhoods, as well as needed economic development.”

“We are looking forward to utilizing this opportunity to create positive outcomes for Joliet by removing environmental barriers to growth and opportunity,” added Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. “Thank you to the Center for Economic Development and United States Environmental Protection Agency Region V for your partnership.”

“Many brownfield sites across the country are in ‘downtown’ areas revealing that cities and towns were often built up in conjunction with one another. These vacated industrial sites are in prime, walkable locations where people live,” Lockport Mayor Steven Streit said. “There is wisdom in investing money to repurpose such brownfields. Restoring them back into functional places means there is one less bit of prime farmland being over-turned for new development on the far edge of town. Building back walkable, thriving communities where people both live AND work is the blueprint of civilizations since settlements first began. I applaud our lawmakers for making funds available to assist in the cleanup of these strategic places.”

“I would like to thank U.S. EPA for the $400,000 of funding for the Brownfield Assessment grant for the Village of Rockdale and our neighboring communities,” said Sam Wyke, Mayor of Rockdale. “Investment in brownfields programs in communities like Rockdale has had a positive impact throughout the nation. Our community was settled by workers of companies and businesses involved with heavy industries that provided many jobs. Now, most of the industrial sites have been vacant or underutilized for several generations. We need to determine the unrealized potential and opportunities of the unused industrial sites. Turning polluted properties back into productive real estate will help us bring the jobs back to our Village. The grant will improve public health and safety and will also increase the tax base.”

For more information on the Environmental Protection Agency or Brownfield Assessment Grants, please visit https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-assessment-grants

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CED Announces Recognition of 2023 Economic Development Week

CED Announces Recognition of 2023 Economic Development Week

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Will County Center for Economic Development Announces Recognition of 2023 Economic Development Week

The international event will highlight local efforts to increase the quality of life in every community over the course of May 8 to May 12, 2023

The Will County Center for Economic Development marks the week of May 8 to May 12, 2023, as Economic Development Week 2023. During this week, communities across North America will celebrate and recognize the contributions made by professional economic developers to create more economically vibrant and livable communities.

Photo of Michael Schwarz Direct of Community Development from Village of Frankfort

Created in 2016 by International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest international professional trade association for economic developers, Economic Development Week increases awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere.

During Economic Development Week the Will County CED will amplify the work of collaborative community economic development and economic developers through a social media campaign featuring CED investors, public and private partners, elected officials, and business leaders sharing their perspectives and support for this work.

Photo Dr. Peter March - Mayor Village of Peotone

“This is an opportunity to highlight community leaders who are working tirelessly to advance quality economic development. I am grateful for their efforts to provide high-paying jobs for our residents and ensure a high quality of life in all Will County communities,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Photo of Tanya Bryja Joliet Refinery Manager at ExxonMobil Joliet

Will County and its municipalities have been among the most successful in Illinois in residential and population growth, business attraction, and job creation. Economic Development Week 2023 offers the opportunity to highlight important partnerships and celebrate how collaborating with government leaders, industry, education partners, and our talented workforce helps Will County continue grow and lead in Illinois.

“The work of the CED is only accomplished through collaboration with our strong community leaders and partners. Their work makes Will County a place that is both attractive for business attraction and for residents who choose Will County for its high quality of life. During economic development week, we want to take the opportunity to give thanks to our partners in economic development who contribute to the success of the region.” said Doug Pryor, President & CEO, Will County Center for Economic Development.

During 2023 International Economic Development Week we are amplifying the work of collaborative community economic development and economic developers through a social media campaign featuring CED investors, public and private partners, elected officials, and business leaders sharing their perspectives and support for this work.

Thank you to John Noak, Mayor of the Village of Romeoville for participating in this important campaign.

Thank you to Erskine ‘Chuck’ Faush, Director, Community Economic Development, NICOR Gas for participating in this important campaign.

Thank you to Ruth Colby, President & CEO, Silver Cross Hospital for participating in this important campaign.

Thank you to Mimi Cowan, Head of External Affairs, DCEO for participating in this important campaign.

Thank you to Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, County Executive for participating in this important campaign.

Thank you to Yvette Saba, President South Region NorthShore Edward-Elmhurst Health for participating in this important campaign.

Thank you Dr. Clyne Namuo, President, Joliet Junior College for kicking off the week with your heartfelt message.

Thank you Tanya Bryja, Refinery Manager – ExxonMobil Joliet Refinery for sharing your important message

CED President & CEO Re-Appointed to Illinois Enterprise Zone Board

CED President & CEO Re-Appointed to Illinois Enterprise Zone Board

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CED President & CEO Re-Appointed to Illinois Enterprise Zone Board

Photo of CEO Doug Pryor

Doug Pryor was originally appointed to serve on the Board in September 2021 and was recently re-appointed to serve through February 2025. Each member of the board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate shall have at least 5 years of experience in business, economic development, or site location.

The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief and improved governmental services.

Doug currently serves as President and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development. In this role he is focused on designing and implementing strategies to strengthen Will County’s position as a premier business destination for large-scale, regionally impactful investments, while also enhancing the County’s capabilities in innovation and new business development.

In his time leading the CED’s business recruitment and retention programs, Doug has helped deliver projects totaling more than $5 billion in investment in a wide range of industries including energy generation, corporate headquarters, electric vehicle manufacturing, transportation and logistics, food production, and retail.

Doug is also an Instructor of Economics and Statistics at Dominican University and currently serves on the State of Illinois Enterprise Zone Board. Prior to joining the CED, he was the County Administrator for Grundy County and Vice President of the Grundy Economic Development Council. Doug is a native of Joliet, a graduate of the University of Illinois-Springfield with a bachelor’s degree in economics and holds an MBA from Dominican University.

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Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Excited to see more than 240 guests last month at this annual midyear event. CED Chair Ruth Colby welcomed guests representing investors, non-investors, elected officials, municipal staff, community organizations, and more to this midyear opportunity to gather and hear about successes and growth of Will County over the past year.

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Greater Chicagoland Region Named Top Metropolitan Area for Corporate Site Selection and Relocation

Greater Chicagoland Region Named Top Metropolitan Area for Corporate Site Selection and Relocation

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Greater Chicagoland Region Named Top Metropolitan Area for Corporate Site Selection and Relocation

County Executive Bertino-Tarrant highlights regional economic assets at awards ceremony

County Executive Bertino-Tarrant highlights regional economic assets at awards ceremony

The Greater Chicagoland Region was named top metropolitan area for corporate site selection and relocation for the 10th consecutive year. County Executive Bertino-Tarrant celebrated the announcement with World Business Chicago at an awards ceremony recognizing companies who have grown or relocated in the Chicagoland Region.

The announcement follows the recent formation of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership, a collaboration among the seven counties of northeastern Illinois (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will) and the City of Chicago. The partnership is aimed at driving economic growth across the entire region.

“This partnership is a game-changer for our region,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “In a highly competitive market, we will be able to attract a wide range of industries to Will County. By working together with our neighboring communities, we can offer a unique mix of urban and rural sites, diverse talent, affordability, quality of life, and connectivity that will set us apart nationally.”

Photo of group award recipients Greater Chicagoland Region Named Top Metropolitan Area for Corporate Site Selection and Relocation

Will County has long been an anchor for economic development in the region. According to the Will County Center for Economic Development (CED), the county has led the state in growth with 7.8 million square feet of new building deliveries in 2022. Additionally, industrial, office, and retail vacancies are at historic lows across the county. Will County was also the top single family home market in Illinois for the fourth year in a row last year.

“Our combination of a tremendous workforce, multi-modal transportation infrastructure, educational institutions, and business-friendly leadership creates a strong, competitive environment that is attractive to business and investment,” said CED President & CEO Doug Pryor. “The Chicagoland area is a globally competitive region that is a force in site selection and business attraction. I am proud of the work we are doing both locally and as a region to grow and advance our economy and quality of life.”

Photo of County Executive Bertino-Tarrant and Doug Pryor with award at the Pro-Chicaglond Decisions 2022

The awards ceremony recognized several companies for their local investments. Joliet-based Lion Electric received the inaugural Pro-Chicagoland Decision Award for choosing to base their business in the region.

“We are proud to honor these outstanding companies for their contributions to Chicago’s thriving economy and job creation,” said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO of World Business Chicago and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago. “Their commitment to driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth throughout the greater Chicagoland region is a testament to their leadership and dedication to the city and its people. We look forward to continuing to work together to build a more prosperous and equitable future for all Chicagoans.”

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Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Excited to see more than 240 guests last month at this annual midyear event. CED Chair Ruth Colby welcomed guests representing investors, non-investors, elected officials, municipal staff, community organizations, and more to this midyear opportunity to gather and hear about successes and growth of Will County over the past year.

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Back To Business Grant Program Announced

Back To Business Grant Program Announced

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Back To Business Grant Program Announced​

B2B Back to Business Logo

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announce $175 million available for Back to Business (B2B)

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced on March 21, 2023, that $175 million is available in grant funding through the Back to Business (B2B) program. Following state recovery for businesses totaling nearly $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) -funded opportunity is designed to provide additional support for the hardest-hit sectors, including restaurants (B2B Restaurants), hotels (B2B Hotels), and businesses or organizations in the creative arts sector (B2B Arts).

Applications will be open April 5-May 10, 2023. DCEO encourages applicants to familiarize themselves with program eligibility requirements and reach out to local community navigators with any questions. All eligibility and program information is available here.

Additionally, DCEO will host statewide information kick-off webinar sessions in the next few weeks in both English and Spanish. Dates and registration links are also available on the same site here.

The application portal will open on Wednesday, April 5 with a link provided at the same site here.

State Grants Available for Restaurants Through Back to Business (B2B) Program - Two guys and girl having lunch in restaurant
B2B Grants for hotels, couple checking in at hotel desk.
B2B grants for Creative Arts Businesses - People at art fundraiser

More In The News

Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Excited to see more than 240 guests last month at this annual midyear event. CED Chair Ruth Colby welcomed guests representing investors, non-investors, elected officials, municipal staff, community organizations, and more to this midyear opportunity to gather and hear about successes and growth of Will County over the past year.

read more

New CED Investor Event Hits the Mark!

New CED Investor Event Hits the Mark!

In the news

New CED Investor Event Hits the Mark!

Attendees in room with CED After 3 event sign in foreground

The Will County CED showcased the first, “CED After 3” event on February 22nd. Thank you to the many investors who braved the rain and cold to join us! We appreciate the support of Wight & Co as our inaugural sponsor and the Joliet Area Historical Museum for their wonderful hospitality and venue.

CED After 3 is a new series of events offered “after 3pm” to investors, to not only engage with others in an alternative setting from our usual group of events, but to also support organizations around the county. Our inaugural CED After 3 showcased the Joliet Area Historical Museum and highlighted the impact of tourism on our county as well as the importance of having amenities for our residents to enjoy.

Each CED After 3 will be held between 3 and 6pm and will highlight sites around the county with a hope of bringing our group to enjoy new places and experiences while supporting our local establishments.

We are incredibly excited for the enthusiasm expressed by all that attended and look forward to hosting the next CED After 3 this summer!

CED After 3 Photo Gallery

More In The News

Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Eye Opener Breakfast Details Will County Successes & More!

Excited to see more than 240 guests last month at this annual midyear event. CED Chair Ruth Colby welcomed guests representing investors, non-investors, elected officials, municipal staff, community organizations, and more to this midyear opportunity to gather and hear about successes and growth of Will County over the past year.

read more