Steve New Newsletter


Stadelman announces more BIG funding for Rockford businesses

State Senator Steve Stadelman reported today that five Rockford businesses received financial assistance through the second round of the Business Interruption Grants, bringing to $3 million the total to be awarded locally through the BIG program to date.

“Small businesses are part of the livelihood of the Rockford community,” Stadelman said. “They need all the additional grant money they can get to keep their doors open, and I’m pleased the state remains committed to communities like Rockford during these difficult times.”

Businesses in the Rockford area received nearly $2 million the first BIG distribution, and another $1 million was given out earlier in the second round. The additional five local businesses awarded this week are:

Jason M Grinters Dds Pc Onsite Dental: $135,000

Evergreen Warehouse: $20,000

Rockford Area Arts Council: $65,000

Anderson Japanese Gardens: $55,000

Rockford Staybridge Inn and Suites: $150,000.

Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $150,000 to help with expenses like payroll costs, rent, utilities, equipment and other possible unexpected costs to relieve the effects of the pandemic. To ensure funds are distributed across the state and across business types, $60 million has been specifically allocated for heavily distressed industries, and another $70 million has been set aside for businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas, or low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19, including Rockford.

“As the pandemic continues and more businesses struggle, it is important they know there is assistance available,” Stadelman said. “Businesses must be given the capital they need to continue to navigate this pandemic with the winter months quickly approaching.”

Local businesses can still apply for assistance online.

Stadelman announces almost $7 million for Rockford Mass Transit

The Illinois Department of Transportation is set to allocate $350 million in funding as part of the Rebuild Illinois Capital Project -- and almost $7 million of that is heading to Rockford to support mass transit, State Senator Steve Stadelman reported this week.

"Every day, thousands of people rely on Rockford Mass Transit District to get to and from home, work or school or to visit one of the countless local businesses that make our city great. With this grant," Stadelman said, "they’ll be able to provide a better and safer experience for riders, which is even more crucial during a global pandemic that is causing people to rethink their travel habits.”

IDOT will provide the RMTD with $6.85 million, which will be used for various maintenance related projects including:

The purchase of new paratransit units and alternative fuel buses to replace existing vehicles that have reached the end of their lifespan;

The purchase of technology, including radios, computer tablets, cameras and automatic passengers counters, to help enhance safety, improve operation connectivity, and streamline the process of transferring to the Stateline Mass Transit District; and

The design, construction, purchase and installation of various electric and power equipment to reduce levels of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission.

“These funds will go a long way toward helping RMTD provide a more modern, efficient service that will greatly benefit those who use the system as well as the city of Rockford as a whole,” Stadelman said. This is the first of three grant distribution cycles, with the subsequent two scheduled to be released in 2021 and 2023. A full list of grant recipients from the first cycle can be found here.

Stadelman announces more than $1 million for Rockford museums

Discovery Center children's museum, Midway Village and Museum Center, Burpee Museum of Natural History and Winnebago County will receive more than $1 million in combined grants to improve their facilities and develop new exhibits, State Senator Steve Stadelman reported this week.

"Museums tell a story about the past, and remembering our past is crucial for shaping our present and future,” Stadelman said. “Learning about our state’s history is an important part of being an Illinoisan, and I’m glad more people will have that opportunity because of this funding.”

The Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources through the state’s multi-year capital program, is open to any museum operated by local government or located on municipally-owned land. The maximum grant award for the projects announced this week was $750,000 with matching funds required in many cases based on museum attendance levels.

“Discovery Center, Burpee and Midway Village attract thousands of visitors each year,” Stadelman said. “This grant program is making an investment in the Rockford community, which will spark economic growth in our community.”

More information on the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program is available on the IDNR website.

 COVID-19 surge cancels veto session

As cases of COVID-19 surge at record high rates, the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session has been cancelled to keep legislators, staff and the community safe and healthy.

The Springfield area’s rolling average positivity rate for confirmed COVID infections had skyrocketed to 14.4% in the days leading up to the decision, prompting concerns about hospital capacity in the capital city, which is the medical provider for its region. As of Thursday, that rate grew to 16.4%.

The veto session was scheduled for Nov. 17-19 and Dec. 1-3 to bracket the Thanksgiving holiday. The fall dates are typically scheduled for lawmakers to take up any vetoes made by the governor. However, there were no vetoes this year. Rather, the legislature planned to use the additional session days to pass a comprehensive package to combat systemic racism.

Despite the recent cancellation, members of the General Assembly still plan to meet again before the 102nd General Assembly convenes on Jan. 13 to discuss those measures, should it be safe.