StudyingCHICAGO – The Chicago Ridge Public Library is the recipient of a $9,000 mentoring grant from the Illinois secretary of state, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced.

The grant was awarded through the Fiscal Year 2021 Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help with developing life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

Chicago Ridge is one of 28 public libraries in the state to receive the grant.

“This program will help the young people of Chicago Ridge develop the skills they need for the future,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “It’s especially important to provide more opportunities to disadvantaged youth.”

In all, the secretary of state awarded more than $550,000 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” said White.  “I established this innovative program when I first became Secretary of State to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

Category: Latest

ConstructionCHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is announcing the Illinois Department of Transportation has slated four miles of Kedzie Avenue for major upgrades this year. The more-than-$5 million project includes repaving, safety upgrades, and increased access for people with disabilities.

“Kedzie Avenue is a major artery connecting the city and the suburbs,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “It connects homes and businesses, and we need to keep it in good repair.”

The upgrades will cover two separate stretches of Kedzie – one running from 87th Street to 103rd Street and the other from 115th Street to 131st Street. In addition to repaving, the repairs include better lane markings and divisions, and making street crossings safer and easier for people in wheelchairs or who otherwise have limited mobility.

“I’m happy that whenever the state makes road upgrades, it makes sidewalks and crossings more accessible,” Cunningham said. “Everyone should be able to safely travel through their own neighborhood.”

The Kedzie upgrades are part of IDOT’s multi-year plan to maintain and expand Illinois’ transportation infrastructure. Other area projects scheduled for the upcoming year include land acquisition at the corner of Southwest Highway and Harlem Avenue for future improvements and repainting the Harlem Avenue bridge over the Cal-Sag Channel.

Category: Latest

cunningham 052320CHICAGO – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham that will help bring a casino to the city of Chicago and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the city’s police and fire pension funds was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker Tuesday.

“A Chicago casino has been years in the making, and I’m glad we were able to get this legislation over the finish line and make it a reality,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This project will provide a major economic boost to the entire region and provide critical revenue to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds to help ensure our first responders get the retirement benefits they’ve earned.”

Senate Bill 516 makes various changes to the state’s gaming laws and will enable Chicago to open its long-sought casino. When fully operational, the casino is expected to funnel more than $200 million dollars a year to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds.

Shortly after taking his seat in the Illinois Senate in 2013, Cunningham introduced legislation that would have required the city of Chicago to dedicate future revenue to the city’s financially strapped police and fire pension funds. 

As chief sponsor of Senate Bill 516, Cunningham was able to ensure the intent of his 2013 legislation remained in the law. The measure passed both the Senate and House with comfortable, bipartisan majorities. As a result, the taxes collected by the city on all slot machines and table games in the new casino will go exclusively to Chicago’s police and fire pensions.

“Although a Chicago casino seemed a long way away in 2013, it was critical to put a marker down then to help ensure it provided funding for Chicago’s police and fire pension systems,” Cunningham said. “This is going to provide a major investment in those pension funds, and, as an added bonus, it’s going to reduce the pressure placed on Chicago property taxes, which were the only source of revenue for police and fire pensions.”

Senate Bill 516 will take effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

energyCHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is encouraging Illinois families to take advantage of a new support package from ComEd and the Illinois Commerce Commission to help them pay their electric bills.

“Many Illinois families are facing unique financial challenges as a result of this pandemic,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “Programs like this one are critical to helping them get back on their feet as our state begins to recover from COVID-19.”

The support package is designed to assist customers who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes an extension of ComEd’s current policy suspending disconnections until the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, whichever comes first. Residential and small business customers will have an additional 30-day grace period, during which ComEd will not disconnect service for nonpayment.

Low-income households earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level are also eligible for financial assistance for past-due balances. These customers will have more flexible payment options, including longer payment plans, and ComEd will waive reconnection fees and new deposit requirements for residential customers. 

These new options supplement relief measures ComEd has already established, such as budget billing options, grants, and debt assistance. 

“This is an excellent program, and I encourage anyone who needs assistance with their electric bills to take advantage of it,” Cunningham said.

Customers who are struggling to pay outstanding balances and electric bills are encouraged to contact ComEd’s customer care team at 800-334-7661, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. More information is available at http://www.comed.com/CARE.

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