Tornado-hit city decides who will manage rebuilding money
HARRISBURG, Ill. - The bids are in, and now it's up to the Harrisburg City Council to choose who will be in charge of doling out millions in relief aid in response to February's tornado.
That decision is expected Tuesday.
In the months since the storm, state officials in Springfield recommended that the city accept bids on who will run the process.
The $2.5 million comes as a Community Development Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
There are state and federal funds involved. The money would allow contractors to repair 25 homes and rebuild six others.
"It is definitely about protecting those that have suffered the loss of their home and property. That's the bottom line," said Eric Gregg, Harrisburg Mayor.
Gregg said leaders in his city will be faced with making another tough decision soon.
"If we award this contract Tuesday night, then I want to see action Wednesday morning," said Gregg.
Two groups submitted bids.
One came from the Southeastern Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission in Harrisburg. Another came from a local contractor, Roy Adams of Herrin.
The specifics of their proposals aren't known but the mayor said the winner could get hundreds of thousands of dollars as an administration fee.
"What we're going to look for tomorrow night when we open the bids is who is the low bidder," said Gregg.
Jerry King with Project STORM said the new money will mean a reduced workload for his volunteer agency, who can now move manpower to other things, like counseling.
King believes freeing up the funds will help many people.
"We've been telling a lot of people hold on, that better help than what volunteers can give is on its way. That help, it's here now," said King.
Gregg said there's so much at stake that the council won't take the decision lightly.
"It's a long-term, boots on the ground commitment to the city of Harrisburg," he said.
That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Harrisburg City Hall.