Underwood Announces that $10.5 Million in 14th District Priorities Advance in House of Representatives

July 19, 2021
Press Release
As a new member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Underwood has worked to secure funding for community projects across the 14th District

Underwood’s priorities include improving water infrastructure, strengthening foster youth development, improving health care systems, and expanding access to higher education

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), a new member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced that $10,524,300 million in federal investment for the 14th District projects has advanced in the House of Representatives. Underwood’s projects would improve water infrastructure and access to safe drinking water, strengthen foster youth development programs, improve local health systems, and expand access to higher education. Underwood successfully advocated for federal funding for projects that would benefit communities across northern Illinois through the Community Project Funding request process. The legislation funding these projects now advances to the full House of Representatives for consideration. 

“Since Day One in Congress, it’s been a priority of mine to bring federal resources to the 14th District to strengthen our community and grow our economy. With my new assignment to the House Appropriations Committee, I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to do even more to invest in our region so northern Illinois families can thrive,” said Underwood. “I’m pleased to see that over $10.5 million has been included in the House funding bills, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress until these resources are seen and felt in our community.” 

This funding is in addition to the $19.7 million Underwood recently secured for 14th District-specific transportation and infrastructure projects through the INVEST in America Act and follows billions of dollars in federal resources that Underwood has supported and delivered for COVID-19 relief economic recovery in the 14th District.  

Community Project Funding is a new initiative for Fiscal Year 2022 that allows Members of Congress to request direct funding for projects that benefit the communities they represent. All of the projects selected by Underwood will increase the safety, economic development, health, and livability, and convenience of communities in northern Illinois. 

Below is the list of projects for which Rep. Underwood successfully secured funding: 

PROJECT SPONSOR: CASA Kendall County  

LOCATION: 811 W John Street, Yorkville, Illinois 60560   

AMOUNT FUNDED: $200,000  

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used for the purchase and development of a “CASA Clubhouse, a multiuse space serving families involved with the foster care system and their advocates. The Clubhouse is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because it will be used as a free, safe location for families to meet on court-ordered visitation. The space will also be used to store donated resources for families and as the permanent advocacy office for CASA of Kendall County. Currently, there is not a single facility in Kendall County dedicated to this need, while CASA reports that the number of children in care in the County doubled from 2019 to 2020. 

PROJECT SPONSOR: DeKalb County Regional Office of Education   

LOCATION: 2500 N. Annie Glidden Rd., Suite C, DeKalb, IL 60115   

AMOUNT FUNDED:  $150,000  

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to expand the work of the DeKalb County Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative and Basics DeKalb County, a county-wide initiative to increase access to quality early learning opportunities. This project is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because it would provide targeted supports to parents in the communities of Sandwich, Sycamore, and Hinckley through culturally and developmentally appropriate materials, coaching, and peer mentoring. The purpose of this project is to reduce kindergarten-readiness gaps by helping the parents better support the social, emotional, and cognitive development of their children.   

PROJECT SPONSOR: Independence Health & Therapy   

LOCATION: 2028 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098   

AMOUNT FUNDED:  $60,000  

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: Independence Health & Therapy requests funding to purchase an electronic medical record (EMR) database system for their Adult Day program and a separate and distinct EMR for their Behavioral Health program. The Adult Day and Memory Care program is the only such program in McHenry County and seeks to promote independence and improve the quality of life for adults and their family. The intent of the Behavioral Health Program is to provide behavioral health services, within an outpatient community setting, to the greater McHenry County area, including traditional individual counseling, psychiatry services, preventative services, and community supportive services. Appropriate technology improves the delivery of services and agency operations.    

PROJECT SPONSOR: Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office   

LOCATION: 37W777 Route 38, Suite 300, St. Charles, IL 60175   

AMOUNT FUNDED:  $350,000  

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: The Kane County State's Attorney has indicated a desire to establish a pre-arrest diversion initiative based on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has started to establish relationships with community-based agencies and mental and behavioral health service providers throughout Kane County, in addition to an early collaboration with the Elgin Police Department, which has created a Collaborative Crisis Services Unit (CCSU) in part to participate in pre-arrest diversion.   

The funding for this project would allow the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office to hire three case managers and a community engagement coordinator, as well as secure operations funds and service dollars. The objectives of this initiative are to improve public safety, reduce the number of people entering the criminal legal system, eliminate racial disparities in the criminal legal system, create sustainability for the initiative by reinvesting systems savings, and improve police-community relations – making it an appropriate use of taxpayer funds. The core activity would be effective, harm-reduction, non-coercive case management of low-level nonviolent offenders.    

PROJECT SPONSOR: McHenry County College   

LOCATION: 8900 US Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012   

AMOUNT FUNDED:  $825,000  

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to expand McHenry County College’s existing dual credit/dual degree program in partnership with all 15 public high schools in McHenry County. It is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because it will fund additional graduate education for high school instructors, qualifying more instructors to teach college courses at their high school and making dual credit and dual degree programs available to many more students. The funding would also be used to help underwrite the cost of college tuition, fees, and course materials for students with demonstrated need.  

PROJECT SPONSOR: Lake County Stormwater Management Commission  

LOCATION: Sylvan Lake Dam, 26083 N Highland Drive, Mundelein, Illinois 60060   

AMOUNT FUNDED: $1,342,500  

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: The Sylvan Lake Dam Modification Project is a cost-effective project to ensure public safety and increase resilience by mitigating the impending failure of a 100-year-old earthen embankment dam, making it an appropriate use of taxpayer funds. This project will protect the 137 homes in the Indian Creek Club subdivision, the 289 homes near Sylvan Lake serviced by above-ground sanitary sewer, Highland and Midlothian roadways, and preventing further damage along the Sylvan Lake Drain. Lake County experienced countywide record flooding in 2017, and erosion damages to this infrastructure have been accelerating as increased precipitation/climate change impacts our region. This project benefits the following local, county and state jurisdictions: Village of Long Grove (including single family homeowners), the unincorporated Fremont Township around Sylvan Lake, Lake County public utility infrastructure, and Illinois Department of Transportation (Midlothian Rd).  

PROJECT SPONSOR: City of Joliet   
LOCATION: 150 West Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL 60432   

AMOUNT FUNDED: $3,500,000  
PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to replace aged, leaking water mains in the City of Joliet’s distribution system in order to reduce non-revenue water. The project is part of the City’s Alternative Water Source Program, which is developing a new Lake Michigan water source to replace the City’s existing groundwater source. Declining water levels make the aquifer unsustainable as a long-term water source for Joliet and its surrounding communities, and the aquifer will no longer be able to meet the City’s demands by 2030. This water main replacement project is required in order for the City of Joliet to transition to using Lake Michigan as its water source. 

PROJECT SPONSOR: Village of Pingree Grove   
LOCATION: 555 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove, IL 60140   
AMOUNT FUNDED: $3,500,000  
PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to construct a new water treatment facility and production well. Currently, a single water treatment facility services the Village’s population of approximately 10,000 residents. This project is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because construction of a second water treatment facility will create redundancy in the system that is critical to the proper operation and maintenance of the facilities serving the population. Without a second water treatment facility, the Village expects it would not be able to supply constituents with suitable drinking water should there be a failure at the existing water treatment facility. Further, the present situation does not permit adequate time to perform maintenance on facility equipment, as the plant cannot be shut down for more than a few hours without risking impacts to the drinking water supply.     

PROJECT SPONSOR: Village of Richmond   
LOCATION: 5600 Hunter Drive, Richmond IL 60071   
AMOUNT FUNDED: $560,800  
PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to rehabilitate two aging water towers, which serve as the residents of the Village of Richmond. Recent inspections of the towers revealed blight and decaying conditions that potentially pose a threat to public health and safety; therefore, restoration is critical and an appropriate use of taxpayer funds. Further delay in the water tower restoration could result in water quality violations and service disruptions, which may impact emergency fire department water supply.  

PROJECT SPONSOR: Wauconda Fire Protection District  

LOCATION: 109 W Liberty Street, Wauconda, Illinois 60084  

AMOUNT FUNDED: $36,000 

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: The Wauconda Fire Protection District (WFPD) is in need of replacing a 28-year-old natural gas emergency back-up generator to power the emergency operations center (EOC) within the fire station. It is a vital piece of equipment that must be reliable to meet the Fire District’s all-hazards emergency management mission, maintain preparedness, continuity of operations and essential communications during a disaster.  

Federal funding of this project will help keep the district on track to maintain and enhance fire and life safety initiatives. This project request will serve the WFPD’s eight Villages and some unincorporated areas of Lake and McHenry Counties with a population of 40,000 within the 44.5 square mile response area.