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Local News

More than 20 Will County area mayors write to Pritzker about changing reopening plan

Gov. JB Pritzker speaks during a press conference Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Plainfield, Ill., announcing the new interchange at Interstate 55 between Romeoville and Plainfield.
Gov. JB Pritzker speaks during a press conference Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Plainfield, Ill., announcing the new interchange at Interstate 55 between Romeoville and Plainfield.

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More than 20 Will County area mayors wrote a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker last week asking him to reconsider parts of his plan to reopen the state as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

They mainly argued communities in Will County should not be in the same region as Chicago and Cook County due to differences in population size.

"To equate these communities to others in the Northeast Region is unfair to our residents, devastating to our economy, and harmful to the overall well-being of our residents," the mayors wrote.

In the letter, they noted that two-thirds of communities in Will County have fewer than 25,000 residents and all but five are smaller than a single ward within the city of Chicago.

Many area mayors have insisted they still want residents and businesses to abide by social distancing and health safety mandates. But they also don't want to see businesses close because they're unable to reopen under the current plan.

Minooka Mayor Pat Brennan lauded Pritzker's work during the pandemic. Still, he argued it makes sense for businesses in Will and Grundy counties to begin opening up gradually next month when the stay-at-home order expires.

"I just think that we should be separated from (Chicago and Cook County)," Brennan said.

Many elected officials seemed unsure if Pritzker would ever alter his plan.

Plainfield Mayor Mike Collins argued the governor should take into consideration concerns from other state and local officials about his plan.

"He's a little unmoving on his point," Collins said. "It seems like when anyone who challenges him, he does not take that well."

The mayors sent the letter as members of the Will County Governmental League which consists of 33 members working to assist municipalities on matters of legislation, transportation, public works and more.

Will County Governmental League Executive Director Hugh O'Hara said the letter was sent to Pritzker on Friday and he wasn't sure when or if they would get a response from the governor's office.

The mayors of Beecher, Bolingbrook, Channahon, Coal City, Frankfort, Homer Glen, Joliet, Lemont, Lockport, Manhattan, Minooka, Mokena, Monee, New Lenox, Orland Park, Oswego, Peotone, Plainfield, Romeoville, Shorewood, Symerton, Wilmington and Woodridge all signed the letter.

O'Hara said more mayors wanted to sign on after he'd already sent the letter to the governor's office.

Other county and state elected officials have made similar arguments about Will County being in the same region as Cook County.

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