State sends millions for city's rebuilding

Marlo Guetersloh
Hours after the tornado smashed through Washington in 2013 Gillman Avenue houses lay in ruins.

The state has sent the city of Washington $13 million to help in the recovery after the Nov. 17 tornado. 

But it may be another year before the city spends the lion’s share of $6.5 million in Illinois Department of Transportation funds sent to Washington. 

City Administrator Tim Gleason said the money will pay for street and sidewalk repairs in the tornado zone. But Gleason said the city will wait until most of the 2015 construction season is done before starting repairs. 

“There is little point in spending the money this year only to have the work torn up by contractors hauling their heavy equipment and trailers in and out of that area,” Gleason said. “By the end of next year’s building season, we are hopeful most of the community will be rebuilt.”

The city has received $1.5 million from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to help pay for the cost the city incurred hauling debris to the landfill in the 30 days after the tornado. 

Gleason said there is about $400,000 in debris removal expenses that the city has paid for and is still working to get reimbursed by the state. 

Gov. Pat Quinn pledged a total of $45 million for nine counties for tornado recovery after the state was turned down by the federal government for disaster relief funds to help Washington and other Illinois cities hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes. 

The city has also received $5 million in state funds to help pay for a $7.5 million expansion to the city’s sewer treatment plant that was planned before the plant was damaged by the tornado.