Mount Prospect hopes to help downtown grocer hire staff with village COVID relief funds

  • A new grocery store in the Maple Street Lofts development in downtown Mount Prospect could get a boost in its efforts to hire staff through a new village program funded by federal coronavirus relief money.

      A new grocery store in the Maple Street Lofts development in downtown Mount Prospect could get a boost in its efforts to hire staff through a new village program funded by federal coronavirus relief money. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2021

 
Updated 3/2/2022 5:31 PM

Mount Prospect officials rolled out an ambitious agenda Tuesday for its use of federal American Rescue Plan funds, including money to help a long-awaited downtown grocery store open its doors and to establish a second source of Lake Michigan water.

The village is receiving a little more than $7 million from the coronavirus relief package. About half arrived in May 2021, with the rest expected this May.

 

The village has until December 2024 to spend the money.

Officials plan to earmark more than $1.3 million for the town's Human Services Department.

Human Services Director Julie Kane said the funds will be used to hire a second police department social worker; a behavioral health subsidy program; an emergency assistance program; a Dial-a-Bus program; and a housing stabilization program.

Despite earlier discussions, the village will not be using any of the money for a new Community Connections Center because of problems acquiring a suitable site. Finance Director Amit Thakkar said the village could revisit the project, using funding expected from a proposed tax increment financing district on the south part of town.

The Public Works Department will receive $5.3 million to help establish an emergency interconnect for Lake Michigan water.

Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said the village has met with the Northwest Water Commission and its current provider, the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency, about the proposal.

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"It will give us access to a second straw into Lake Michigan with the same quality of water that we currently enjoy, on an emergency basis," Dorsey said.

The Community Development Department will receive $425,000. Community Development Director Bill Cooney said

funds would be used to address challenges that new retail businesses are facing in filling positions, particularly Caputo's, the eagerly awaited downtown grocer that is expected to open late in the year.

Under the program, which would spend $200,000 over the next two years, a worker would receive a $1,000 incentive, getting the first installment after the first paycheck, then the second installment six months later.

Other community development programs will include a green building grant program, providing matching grants up to $10,000 to individuals who make their properties more energy efficient, and a website improvement program.

The latter, Cooney said, "is for smaller businesses that don't have a web presence."

The $5,000 grant would go toward small businesses that either do online sales or could do online sales but don't at present.

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