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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Center on Halsted among community projects U.S. Rep. Quigley supports for funding
--From a press release
2021-04-28

This article shared 427 times since Wed Apr 28, 2021
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CHICAGO, IL — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, announced his support for ten community projects for consideration in appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year. The ten community projects were selected from nearly 100 applications and marks the first time members have been able to submit specific community projects for direct funding in over a decade. Quigley selected the ten projects based on strict Committee requirements and using his first-hand knowledge of the issues facing the Fifth District.

"Every Congressional district across the country has unique, specific needs that are not always understood or acknowledged by annual funding projects — and the Fifth District is no different. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to champion these ten projects for funding consideration because I know, if they are selected, they will have a measurable impact on our community From providing healthcare for those most in need to protecting drivers, pedestrians, and commuters, each of these projects is poised to transform the communities they serve," said Quigley. "As a member of the Appropriations Committee and Chair of FSGG, I am committed to fighting for these projects — and our entire district — until the day we can unveil Illinois Masonic's new anesthesia suites, walk Lincoln Park's new ADA accessible paths, and visit newly improved Chicago Public Schools."

Additional information on Community Project Funding and the ten projects selected by Quigley, as well copies of require financial disclosures, is available HERE :quigley.house.gov/community-project-funding .

A summary of the ten projects is provided below, in alphabetical order, along with quotes from the sponsoring organizations:

Center on Halsted Youth Housing Program

This project will allow the Center on Halsted to enhance its Youth Housing Program through the acquisition and renovation of transitional housing for Chicago's LGBTQ+ and ally youth who are experiencing homelessness, violence, and trauma, with a special focus on LGBTQ youth of color. Enhanced housing will contribute to the success and independence of LGBTQ+ and allied youth as well as the revitalization of local neighborhoods where the housing is located.

"Center on Halsted is deeply grateful to Congressman Quigley and his staff for selecting us as one of ten submissions for funding consideration. These funds will help Center on Halsted secure property to expand our Youth Housing Program and ensure that LGBTQ and ally youth are safely housed and provided the essential supports they need to live independently," said Modesto Tico Valle, Chief Executive Officer for Center on Halsted. "LGBTQ youth face the risk of homelessness at considerably higher rates than their straight, cisgender peers, most often due to being kicked out of their family homes by anti-LGBTQ parents or guardians. Upon facing homelessness, these young people are also at greater risk of a number of barriers to their health & wellbeing. These include increased risk of violence and victimization, mental and physical health concerns, and marginalization from systems of support that traditionally do not provide LGBTQ-affirming services. If our project is funded, we will be able to grow our Youth Housing Program and ensure our young people have access to safe housing, new peer and professional support networks, and a wide range of programs and services that will help them thrive."

Chicago COPS Integrated Intelligence Strategy Program

This project would support the equipment to increase capacity, accuracy, and coordination of intelligence gathering with other law enforcement partners, including the FBI in particular. The equipment for Integrated Intelligence Strategy program will enable the Department to proactively inform decision making for investigative efforts and support the Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSC) that occur in districts with the goal of passing more intelligence to aid enterprise investigations at Homan Square and inform command staff via Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC).

"Communication and intelligence sharing are essential to the Chicago Police Department's crimefighting efforts," said Chicago Police Department Superintendent David O. Brown. "As we continue working to keep the City of Chicago safe, the Integrated Intelligence Strategy Program will be an invaluable tool that allows for enhanced coordination with our law enforcement partners."

Chicago Public Schools

This project directs funds to schools that would significantly benefit from capital improvement investments targeting the specific needs of each institution. By enhancing the physical environment students will be able to better engage in the school's academic programming. Specifically, it will allow a STEM school to modernize a STEM lab; a Fine and Performing Arts program to update the flexible performing art space, and investments in classroom technology and furniture for students to engage in a choice-based learning environment tailored to their needs. Eligible schools include Talcott Elementary School (ES) for Fine and Performing Arts, Tubman ES for Fine and Performing Arts, Ravenswood ES for Fine and Performing Art, Pritzker ES for Fine and Performing Arts, Otis ES for Personalized Learning, and De Diego ES for Personalized Learning.

"CPS is committed to providing students in every school with a well-rounded education, and this funding would go a long way in enhancing personalized learning and fine and performing arts programming at six of our district schools," said CPS CEO, Dr. Janice K. Jackson. "Thank you to Congressman Mike Quigley for championing our families and students and working to ensure our schools can continue to provide world-class arts and personalized learning programming that provides our students important outlets to be creative and expressive."

Critical Infrastructure Improvements for Visitor Safety, Animal Welfare, and Energy Efficiency at Lincoln Park Zoo

This project will upgrade the Lincoln Park Zoo's infrastructure to enhance visitor safety, lessen the zoo's environmental impact, and improve the security and well-being of resident animals and staff. Infrastructure improvements include upgrading the zoo's HVAC system, structural improvements to the Regenstein African Journey building and the walkway leading to the McCormick Bird House, and implementing additional crosswalks, movable bollards, light poles, and a drop-off lane in the zoo's East Gate parking lot to improve visitor safety and ease parking lot traffic.

"Lincoln Park Zoo is very grateful to Congressman Quigley for helping Chicago's free zoo fund critical infrastructure and visitor safety improvements," said Megan Ross, Zoo Director at Lincoln Park Zoo. "There are a number of building and grounds upgrades and maintenance projects necessary to improve safety, make repairs, and ultimately enhance the experience for millions of annual visitors. We look forward to working with members of Congress as we work through the appropriations process."

Grand Avenue and George Street Traffic Safety Enhancement

This project will result in the installment of a traffic signal at the intersection of Grand Avenue and George Street in the Village of Franklin Park. The traffic signal will improve the safety of the intersection, which is located along one of the village's busiest commercial corridors and provide economic and mobility benefits to the area.

"The installation of a traffic signal at Grand Avenue and George Street will be a major benefit to Village of Franklin Park. Grand Avenue connects the City of Chicago to the western suburbs and serves as a major transportation route through one of the village's busiest commercial corridors. Seniors, Children, and Pace Bus patrons are often seen attempting to cross five lanes of traffic at Grand and George to get groceries, visit the library, get to their bus stop, and many other activities that draw foot traffic to this intersection," said Village of Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen. "This project will significantly alleviate safety concerns that have plagued this intersection by providing safe passage for pedestrians, improved access into Grand Plaza, and more efficient traffic circulation."

Illinois Masonic Dental Clinic

This project will enable Advocate Aurora Health, Illinois' primary provider of oral health care for residents with special needs, to better provide for patients in a centralized setting at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. For patients with medically complex diagnoses, or for those with special needs (including developmental disabilities), sedation is often required during dental care; funds designated for this project will be used to build anesthesia suites and outpatient procedure rooms at the Advocate Illinois Masonic facility. In addition, the development of outpatient anesthesia spaces will supplement existing training for dental anesthesia residents and promote workforce development to meet demand from patients requiring this type of care.

"Advocate Illinois Masonic's proposed build-out will greatly improve oral health services provided to many underserved populations in several consequential ways, including the purchasing of specialized dental, anesthesia, and medical equipment to accommodate the unique oral health care and accessibility needs of our medically complex, special needs, pediatric, and geriatric patients," said Dr. James Benz, Chair and Program Director, General Practice Residency for Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. "We are also extremely excited to be in the immediate proximity to our premier Pediatric Developmental Center and directly across from the Emergency Department. The build-out of this new dental space promises to enhance vitally needed oral health services and significantly decrease wait times for these procedures, which currently can exceed a year."

Lincoln Park ADA Accessibility

This project provides funding for comprehensive repaving of pedestrian pathways in Lincoln Park that follow ADA guidance.

"The Chicago Park District is incredibly grateful to Congressman Quigley and his support helping us to create a fully accessible park system. ADA capital projects remain a priority for the Park District and we are dedicated to improving accessibility to facilities for all of our City's residents," said Tiffany Sanders Sostrin, Director of Legislative and Community Affairs for Chicago Park District.

Night Ministry

The Night Ministry serves thousands of Chicagoans annually who are experiencing poverty and homelessness, proving access to health care and housing to those most in need. Among the programs operated by the organization is the Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus, which six nights a week, serves individuals experiencing homelessness across several neighborhoods of the city. Funds provided for this project would enable the Night Ministry to purchase a new Health Outreach Bus, which would include a private exam room, private space for medical testing or meeting with social workers, as well as a hospitality area and restroom.

"The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus brings free health care, food, and other vital resources to more than 4,000 people experiencing homelessness or poverty in neighborhoods across Chicago each year. Providing services on Chicago's streets every day and throughout all four seasons takes a toll on the vehicle. A new bus will ensure the program will continue to operate without interruption for years to come. We are grateful that Congressman Quigley is including a new Health Outreach Bus for The Night Ministry in his community funding projects," said Paul W. Hamann, President & CEO of The Night Ministry.

Stormwater Improvement Project — Elmhurst

This project will provide flooding relief and improve water quality for the City of Elmhurst residents through the implementation of new underground stormwater detention infrastructure.

"Following the widespread flooding that was experienced during the storm events of June and July 2010, and April 2013, the City of Elmhurst has been working to develop a comprehensive flood plan for the community. The York Community High School Project would provide flood-reduction benefits, protecting over $8.5 million in property," said Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley. "The goal of this project is to provide a location to safely hold stormwater while maintaining the existing recreational uses of the school site. The project will store 8.7-acre-feet of stormwater underground and release in a controlled fashion into the stormwater system. Additionally, the project will provide brand new open space for the community which can be used 365 days a year (artificial turf) through partnership with School District 205."

West Grand Avenue - Highway/Rail Grade Separation

This project will create a grade separation of the West Grand Avenue Highway and the Metra rail tracks to improve the safety, mobility, and environmental impacts of the intersection. The Grand Avenue crossing continues to see a high number of car and train accidents and is currently ranked the sixth most likely train crossing to have a collision out of 7,920 crossings in the State of Illinois by the Federal Railroad Administration.

"Constructing a grade separation at the West Grand Avenue rail crossing is a much-needed safety improvement affecting many commuters living and working throughout our region. For too long, the existing crossing design has caused unfortunate accidents," said Village President Angelo "Skip" Saviano. "We appreciate Congressman Quigley's attention to this critical need, and for identifying the project as a priority for funding in the fiscal year 2022 Transportation Appropriations bill. We look forward to working with the Congressman and our state partners to fulfill this important upgrade in our community."

These projects are separate and distinct from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's process for considering Member Designated Projects requests. More information on Quigley's Member Designated Projects submissions is available HERE.

Submission of a project does not guarantee that the project will be funded.


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