By RORYE O’CONNOR
City and county planners are scrapping a plot for the grant-funded construction of a training facility at Continental Tire the Americas.
The plan since 2010 had been to use a $750,000 Community Development Assistance Program grant to construct a training center for Rend Lake College courses currently being taught in CTA facilities. However, the change of scope to the grant didn’t meet the parameters of the grant, Jefferson County Board Chairman Robert White said.
The original purpose of the CDAP grant funding, applied for in 2008, was to construct an additional parking lot on the Continental Tire property.
“We tried to repurpose the grant, and it didn’t meet the scope,” White explained. “We are exploring what we can use it for.”
The original CDAP grant expired June 30, 2012, and now the county will have to reapply for the funding, said Mary Ellen Bechtel, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Corporation.
“This grant started out in 2008, when we planned to build a parking lot for Continental,” Bechtel said. “In 2010, we did change the scope of work to build a training center, and the ending date was June 30, 2012. Due to circumstances beyond any of our control, we just did not get the facility built in the timeframe of the grant and the grant expired.”
She said the county and the JCDC are working with the state of Illinois and other partners to seek grant funding.
“It’s highly unlikely that we will make an application for the same type of project,” Bechtel said. “We are looking to see what our alternatives would be.”
A training center for RLC courses on the Continental property is still a desired project, she said, but the JCDC and the county are working to see what kind of grant funding could be used in order to make that possible.
“We are just all working together, trying to consider what’s going on in this area and the needs for public infrastructure as it’s related to private projects,” Bechtel said. “We are disappointed we didn’t get this project completed, but we are going to move forward and do our best to serve the industry in Jefferson County.”