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Local News

State of Will County address reports strong economy

The Will County Board heard addresses on the state of the county and the proposed county budget at its meeting on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.
The Will County Board heard addresses on the state of the county and the proposed county budget at its meeting on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.

The Will County Executive’s Office presented a strong outlook on the county’s growth and economic condition at a “state of the county” address on Thursday.

County executive Larry Walsh Sr.’s chief of staff, Nick Palmer, delivered the address to the Will County Board at its meeting.

“I am proud Will County remains strong and is able to balance our growth with maintaining residents’ quality of life due to our ability to work together for the success of our county,” Walsh said during his opening remarks.

In the address, Palmer highlighted the number of capital projects underway throughout the county, thanks in part to the $45 billion capital bill the state legislature passed.

This included about $1.5 billion for improvements to Interstate 80 between Ridge Road and Route 30, widening Jefferson Street from Houbolt Road to River Road, modernizing Route 53 from Arsenal Road to Dorris Avenue, resurfacing part of Interstate 55, improving bridges over the Des Plaines River and improvements along Interstate 57.

“Will County is a conduit for trade across the country,” Palmer said. “The infrastructure investments we make today will keep our residents safe and support our economy today and in the future.”

The construction of a new Will County courthouse was proceeding smoothly, according to Palmer. He said as of the end of July, the construction project had 503 workdays without an injury.

Palmer also highlighted the county’s efforts with Director of Substance Use Initiatives Kathleen Burke to combat the opioid epidemic, by training more than 1,400 people in 2018 to administer the drug Narcan to reverse overdoses.

Burke also helped expand medication assisted treatment opportunities for users and implemented a procedure for addicts to seek help. The number of overdose deaths slightly decreased from 2017 to 2018.

Palmer also discussed providing affordable housing in Will County. The county is conducting a fair housing study with the help of a grant from the National Association of Realtors and assistance from the Three Rivers Association of Realtors.

The county has collected about
1,000 surveys from residents asking for their input on housing options.

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