AURORA, Ill. – State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, is announcing numerous new projects funded in Illinois’ recent budget that will improve a variety of local and regional infrastructure.
“Illinois’ recent budget paved the way for great progress with significant spending in vital areas—such as education and childcare—but it will also do substantial good by targeting community needs at local and regional levels,” Hernandez said. “I am proud of the funding I have been able to secure for Aurora and the surrounding areas to address the priorities of other Aurorans.”
The local and regional projects to be funded that will affect Aurora are:
- Maddie’s Mittens will get $320,000 to purchase a new building;
- Paramount Theater will get $400,000 to fix infrastructure issues;
- North Aurora will get $200,000 for water treatment plant renovation;
- Aurora Public Library will get $80,000 for a mini bookmobile; and
- Mutual Ground will get $5 million to expand infrastructure to help them assist more individuals who need domestic violence shelters.
Michaela Haberkern, Executive Director of the Aurora Public Library, said, “We couldn’t be more happier to receive this generous grant! These funds will support the purchase and outfitting of an all-electric vehicle that will provide library materials to residents of retirement communities and nursing homes, as well as services to homebound customers. We’re so grateful to Representative Barbara Hernandez and all of our representatives in the Illinois Legislature for their help and support.”
Tim Rater, President and CEO of the Paramount Theatre, said, “For the last decade, Paramount Theatre has been a driver of cultural and economic activity in Aurora, welcoming nearly 3 million patrons and generating more than $176 million in economic impact in our community. Operating a historic and highly trafficked venue like ours presents unique challenges. Nearly a century of wear and tear have uncovered necessary improvements across our venue. This grant will enable us to provide an inclusive, accessible, and safe environment at Paramount for all patrons, with access to high-quality, affordable arts and cultural experiences for years to come.”
Michelle Myer, CEO of Mutual Ground, said “To better serve our clients, Mutual Ground recently turned to our legislators to help secure funding to renovate and expand our historic, Aurora-based, building. In the wake of the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the need for both counseling and emergency services, causing us to implement waiting lists and even turn away individuals needing emergency shelter. At the same time, the functionality of our building, and the costs associated with maintaining an old facility, was seriously impacting the way we could meet the needs of our community. We quickly found that we had a champion in Leader Barbara Hernandez. She immediately assembled a team of local legislators that rallied to include $5 million of capital funding in the FY24 budget. This funding will allow us to start a campaign to begin the renovation and expansion of our beautiful building, which will allow us to address the growing need for help. We are so incredibly grateful to Leader Hernandez and our local legislators for championing Mutual Ground and securing this vital funding!”
Maddie Bozik, President of Maddie’s Mitten March, said, “We are forever grateful to Representative Hernandez for giving us the ability to continue our mission in keeping the residents of her district warm in addition to the surrounding communities we serve.”
Mark Gaffino, North Aurora Village President, said, “The Village of North Aurora is delighted to receive this grant funding for our water plant treatment project that is set to begin this year. We thank Rep. Barbara Hernandez and her team for their hard work in obtaining this funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.”