The historically distressed Fairmont neighborhood in Lockport Township may see revitalization soon through a new program that kicked off recently.
Will County officials said in a news release that they partnered with other agencies on the Fairmont Redevelopment Program, which may last three to five years.
The program is an effort to implement elements of an overall Fairmont plan developed by neighborhood residents, business owners and county staff, the news release stated.
“This is all about improving the quality of life for these residents. These days, as government must continue to do more with less resources, partnerships like this are invaluable to serve our constituents,” said Larry Walsh, Will County executive, in the news release.
A 2012 Fairmont Neighborhood Plan by Will County stated that Fairmont has struggled to attract investment and in many ways has been “left behind by the growth” that occurred in other parts of the county. The number of employed adults in Fairmont had fallen dramatically since 2000, according to the plan.
Last year, Fairmont community members spoke out against a proposed county project for a highway linking Caton Farm and Bruce roads to a new bridge over the Des Plaines River because of concerns it would disproportionately displace and affect the minority-heavy community.
In late July, 200 volunteers came to Fairmont to work on several improvement projects to kick off the redevelopment program, said Ron Pullman, Will County community development division director, in the news release.
Pullman said the improvement projects began last year when Messiah Lutheran Church reached out to Will County and county officials accepted applications from low-income homeowners who needed assistance.
“We received applications from 65 homeowners in the Fairmont area and our intent is to assist all who qualify for the program,” Pullman said in the news release.
The community development division, which is within the county’s Land Use Department, partnered with the Will County Center for Community Concerns, Habitat for Humanity, ShareFest of New Lenox and Reach Missions to obtain supplies and equipment at reduced costs.
“The residents in the Fairmont neighborhood have made due for so long, it is definitely time for us to assist them all we can,” said Pullman in the news release.