Cahokia Heights still waiting on millions promised by Pritzker for sewer upgrades

Pritzker promised that nearly $10 million would be immediately available last summer.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:40 PM CST
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CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (KMOV) - The City of Cahokia Heights is still waiting on millions in state funding to alleviate flooding and sewer issues in the city.

In August, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker held a press conference announcing $21 million in funding to upgrade and install new sewers. During the press conference, Pritzker said $9.9 million was immediately available, but the city confirmed to News 4 that the money still hasn’t been dispersed.

The governor’s office sent News 4 the following statement:

“The Governor’s announcement that the funding was released was the first step in grant agreement process that must be followed in order to utilize state funds. Part of that process requires the city to complete necessary steps to ensure effective use of funds for a long-term solution. It’s important that the applications for grant funds for projects go through the required review process to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately. IEPA’s review of the agreements, as well as the Constriction Activities and Outreach Program Strategies that the grant agreement requires the City to produce, are ongoing and the agency hopes to move forward with next steps in the coming weeks.”

The City of Cahokia Heights released the following press release Thursday:

“Mayor McCall issued a statement regarding the status of release of funds from the State for sewer infrastructure repairs for Cahokia Heights. The City has submitted the required documents to the IEPA and is working with the agency on any needed modifications or clarifications to those documents. Once they have been reviewed and approved, the City looks forward to receiving the funds to start the important work of the sewer infrastructure repairs. In the meantime, several individual repair projects have been awarded and are under way utilizing local City funds, including approximately $400,000 for the replacement of two failed sewer pump stations on N. 82nd Street in the Ping Pong neighborhood, an area that has experienced some of the worst problems with sewer and surface flooding issues.

When I was elected mayor of Cahokia Heights, I made it my number one priority to relieve the water and sewer problems existing in my community,” stated Mayor McCall. “In doing so, politics takes a back seat. I simply want to do whatever is in my power as mayor of Cahokia Heights to relieve the problems that plague the community I grew up in and currently live in.

His call for assistance to help marginalized communities like that of Cahokia Heights was not in vain. In addition to Gov. Pritzker, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Illinois State Rep. Jay Hoffman, State Senator Christopher Belt, former State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Hurst-Rosche Engineers and others have been working tirelessly to help secure grant dollars.”

Frank McCall, mayor of Cahokia Heights

News 4 asked the governor’s office if the City of Cahokia Heights still needs to complete any required steps in order to get the funds dispersed, but no one responded as of Thursday evening.

“The rain doesn’t wait on your paperwork, JB,” said Illinois Rep. Kevin Schmidt, a newly-elected Republican state representative for District 114. “I think my fellow politicians and all the lawyers need to realize that the rain doesn’t wait on their paperwork to get filed. The people of Cahokia Heights are suffering.”

It still isn’t clear who is responsible for state funding not being allocated yet.