Alexander, Union counties in Illinois get flooding aid

Sunday, November 2, 2008

ANNA, Ill. -- Christmas may have arrived early this year for officials and property owners in Alexander and Union counties whose land got damaged from floods this spring.

Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, presented checks of nearly a half-million dollars to each county during a public gathering Friday at Anna City Hall.

"We worked closely with local governments and businesses, the work force and community development programs," Ribley said.

The money, which originates from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development community development assistance program, will be used to help levee districts within each county improve drainage systems to help alleviate flooding damage last spring, he said.

Alexander County received a check for $496,000. Union County's amount is $496,900.

Much of the money is expected to be used to help improve the Clear Creek drainage system, which reportedly had logjams and conduit problems during the massive runoff this spring from the torrential rains.

Clear Creek runs parallel with the Mississippi River through Union and Alexander counties.

Some state officials attended the check presentations. They praised the local government entities for their diligence and perseverance to get aid.

"Here we are today with a blessing. This is real money," said state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg.

State Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, said property owners were entitled to the money.

"I think you deserve it, don't you? Your money is coming back home to get used," Forby said.

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