From Illinois Business Journal news services
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced the approval of a $15 million loan guarantee to help St. Clair County establish a loan fund to help finance economic and community development projects within the county.
HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Assistance Program enables local governments to borrow money from private sources at reduced interest rates to promote economic development, stimulate job growth and improve public facilities among other key goals.
The loan guarantee program allows local governments to convert up to five times their most recently approved allocation of Community Development Block Grant funding into federally guaranteed loans that are large enough to pursue physical and economic revitalization projects that are capable of renewing entire neighborhoods. Such public investment is often necessary to inspire private contributions, to provide seed money or simply to boost confidence private firms and individuals may need to invest in distressed areas. HUD estimates that for every dollar of public investment spent nationally in CDBG funds, 21 new jobs per million were created and 5 new businesses were created or expanded.
“I am happy to join HUD and St. Clair County today to announce this new loan guarantee program for local projects. Since 2010, nearly $95 million in loan guarantees have been made to Illinois communities where funding has been used for everything from historic preservation to expanding the availability of affordable housing,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said. “This loan guarantee will go a long way in helping St. Clair County restore opportunity and spur economic development in communities that have gone without for too long.”
“HUD’s Loan Guarantee Program can be a powerful public investment tool to drive economic development in underserved areas,” said Antonio R. Riley, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator. “It will be a huge boost to the County of St. Clair’s ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts in the County and will provide numerous employment opportunities for lower income residents.”
“St. Clair County is pleased to receive approval for our Section 108 Loan Pool”, said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. “My staff and I have been meeting with several potential businesses that could benefit from this program, and we are ready to see results from this great program.”
The loan guarantee assistance announced today will allow the county to facilitate the financing of local projects that will assist in creating or retaining permanent jobs, increase the availability of goods and services that residents need in designated service areas, preparation of sites for future economic development, enhance the local tax base through increased sales and/or payment of property taxes from project operations; increase energy-efficient building or process improvements; and/or increase the amount of affordable housing.