Durbin Checks Out SV Stimulus Project

Bureau County Republican
April 9, 2010

SPRING VALLEY — Sen. Dick Durbin stopped in Spring Valley Tuesday afternoon to shake a few hands and get a close-up view of what some of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus dollars are doing.

Work began in Spring Valley in December after the city received a $4.7 million grant/loan from stimulus funds to separate the city’s combined sewer and storm water system, replacing sewer lines and providing new water mains. The funds include a 25 percent grant and a 75 percent loan, offered at zero percent interest over 20 years.

Standing on the corner of Third and Spalding streets, in front of workers and equipment from John Pohar & Sons of LaSalle, Durbin said that last year, President Barack Obama and the country faced the highest unemployment since the Great Depression.

“He said to Congress, ‘Get to work investing in America. Let’s start creating some jobs. Let’s invest in things that are going to pay off for a long time to come,’’’ he said.

Durbin said Illinois lawmakers wanted to make sure some dollars came to Illinois.

“We looked around our state for good projects that would put people to work and solve some community issues and problems, and we found one right here in Spring Valley,” he said.

Durbin said the project was personal for many residents who had experienced frequent flooding. During the last few years, a couple of “100-year” rains forced sewage into residents’ basements.

“If you’ve ever had your basement flooded, you don’t forget it,” Durbin said. “For a lot of people here in Spring Valley, it didn’t happen just once. It happened many times.”

Durbin said the stimulus funds were a good investment in Spring Valley.

“This is a great little town,” he said. “People here love it, and they’ve found a good life here, and we want to make that life even better.”

Part of making that life better also included jobs for area workers.

“They’re going to be taking home a paycheck at the end of the week or the end of the month, and spending it in local stores so that money coming from Washington is spent right here in the local communities,” he said. “It’s going to create good-paying jobs and create more demand for goods and services, bringing us out of this recession.”

Spring Valley Mayor Cliff Banks said the money was greatly needed, especially for the people whose homes were flooded.

“It’s been a tragedy,” he said. “One time’s enough, let alone three or four times.”

In addition to his gratitude, Banks also put in a plug for the future.

“We’re hoping that we’ll get some more stimulus money down the road to do other things,” he said.

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One Spring Valley resident eager to meet Sen. Dick Durbin was Ken Bogacz. Bogacz has been a regular figure at city council meetings since his home was one of those flooded.

“We’re tremendously grateful for what’s going on with the sewer system, but this only covers a small portion of the city,” Bogacz told Durbin. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Durbin said many communities are dealing with 100-year-old water mains and sewers that are collapsing and aren’t up to modern standards.

“What we need to come up with is a way for the communities that want to move forward on this to help pay for it,” he said.

Bogacz was also concerned with more enforcement to avoid problems in the first place.

“It’s not only Spring Valley, because I know we’ve got a limited budget as far as our staff is concerned, but we don’t clean out our drain basins on a regular basis and we don’t clean out for roots,” he said. “I know money is always an issue, but there’s smaller things that could be done, and that’s why I think the enforcement needs to be upped a little.”