U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Thursday announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded $1,645,200 in Disaster Relief funding to the City of Harrisburg which suffered severe damage from flooding in 2011 and further devastation from a major tornado in 2012.
The grant will be used to construct improvements to the Harrisburg’s waste water treatment plant, support local industries and protect against future floods. Specifically, it will add to and improve the trickling filter at the sewage treatment plant and install an additional pump in the storm water pumping station while leveraging an expected $2 million in private investment.
“I’ve seen my fair share of tornado damage, but when I visited Harrisburg and Ridgway just over a year ago, I saw some things I had never seen before,” said Durbin, in the prepared release. “Today’s investment is welcome news for a community that was hit so hard by disaster and has made incredible progress moving forward despite an initial denial of federal disaster assistance. Thanks again to everyone engaged in the rescue and clean up at every level, including Mayor Gregg of Harrisburg. I hope this funding will complement the work they are doing to rebuild their communities.”
The funding has been awarded through the FY 2012 Disaster Relief Opportunity grant program which is intended to support long-term recovery, spur job creation, leverage private investment and promote disaster resiliency in communities affect by severe weather and other disasters.
Republican Congressman John Shimkus said in a prepared release, “I am pleased that EDA saw the value in these repairs to the Harrisburg waste water treatment system. The region was impacted by natural disasters two years in a row but is determined to fully recover and become even stronger. I appreciate the cooperation among the entities that made this funding possible.”
The grant comes with a requirement of $500,000 match of local funds. The city council proposes to pay the match out of Tax Increment Finance District funds.
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg said, "It is a blessing to our community, and if we did not have the $500,000 out of TIF as our part, we would not get the $1.6 million. That is how important the TIF is to Harrisburg.”