Verschoore Measure Pushes Community Revitalization

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Last week, state Rep. Pat Verschoore (D- Milan) passed legislation out of the Illinois House to promote community revitalization and historic preservation through standardizing the Illinois Main Street Act.

“I want to ensure that communities across the state who are looking for a way to jump start economic development have the resources and the tools they need,” said Verschoore. “The program has historically been run by the Lieutenant Governor’s office. In light of the absence of a Lieutenant Governor for two years, I want to ensure that communities are not missing out and have a stable program not dependent upon a single Constitutional Officer.”

House Bill 3414, sponsored by Verschoore, empowers qualified communities to promote economic development with the assistance of the state. The Illinois Main Street Act helps communities define economic revitalization and historic preservation activities, and encourages local residents to take an active role in the leadership and fundraising for those elements. Communities that qualify can also receive financial assistance. Under Verschoore’s legislation, the program would be operated out of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and program goals and private investment guidelines would be redefined. The Lieutenant Governor, however, will be the program’s ambassador.

There are currently 51 communities in the state that have been designated as Main Street Communities. Qualifications to become a Main Street Community include: a high degree of interest and commitment to a community’s downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and historic preservation; the potential for local private investment; a sufficient historic fabric to build upon; and the capacity of local organizations to undertake revitalization programs.

“I want to make sure that we are promoting investment in our communities, both as a means of keeping the community strong and to create more jobs for residents,” said Verschoore. “Rock Island has already started to take advantage of this program, and I want to continue to promote local investment and development in our area.”

For more information on this or any Rep. Verschoore’s legislation please contact his constituent service’s office at (390) 558-3612.