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Daily Journal
     April 22, 2022      #69-112 KDJ
 
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Hopkins Park Mayor Mark Hodge said of the grant: “Everybody is on board with this. In the remarks I made, I talked about enhancing the learning experience for our children. Parents have had to drive their kids to the school or library to get internet service. Sometimes the parent had to make the d

Federal funds will bring broadband internet to

By Jeff Bonty
jbonty@daily-journal.com


PEMBROKE TOWNSHIP — Broadband service in Pembroke Township has long been hit and miss. Actually, it has been more miss than hit.

That changed Wednesday when Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly, D-Illinois, presented a $3 million check for a program to help the township with broadband internet as well as other infrastructure.

The presentation came at the township’s library.

“Everybody is on board with this,” Hopkins Park Mayor Mark Hodge said. “In the remarks I made, I talked about enhancing the learning experience for our children.

“Parents have had to drive their kids to the school or library to get internet service. Sometimes the parent had to make the decision to do that or go to work.”

Hodge said they are hopeful the service could be up and running by the end of the year.

The $3 million grant will be administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on behalf of the Community Development Corporation for Pembroke and Hopkins Park, according to a release from Kelly’s office.

The DCEO will look for matching grant money, Hodge said.

Pembroke Township Supervisor Sam Payton, State Rep. Jackie Haas, R-Kankakee, and State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, also attended the grant announcement.

“I thought it was a wonderful thing,” Payton said. “It puts us in the 21st century.”

He said Kelly has been responsive to the needs of the township’s residents since taking office more than a decade ago.

“She has a heart for the residents of Pembroke,” he said.

Kelly said, “It was an honor to be in historic Pembroke Township today to provide critical funding for infrastructure to the residents. I was so impressed by the number of people who came out to celebrate this.”

According to a press release, the project would extend access to approximately 850 residences, businesses, and community anchor institutions throughout the entire 52-square-mile Pembroke Township footprint.

“Pembroke is a very rural, historically impoverished, and dramatically under-served community that lacks communications and energy infrastructure, including wireline broadband, cellular, and natural gas,” she said in the release.

Most residents use liquid petroleum gas, electricity and wood stoves to heat their homes. The lack of natural gas was addressed through legislation signed by Gov. JB Pritzker.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.

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