LANSING | Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Tuesday joined municipal officials in a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially marking the opening of the St. Anthony of Lansing facility.
It took nearly eight years and help from Cook County to build the assisted living apartment complex for senior citizens, Lansing officials said.
Preckwinkle, along with Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore, D-Chicago, attended the ceremonies at 3025 Spring Lake Drive in appreciation of the county's help in getting the project built and completed.
“We don’t have a commissioner from our area of the south suburbs,” said Village President Norm Abbott, noting that his suburb is part of a city-based county district. “But we appreciate the support we got from county government.”
Preckwinkle said $3 million toward the project came from federal funds that Cook County government then re-directed to Lansing for use on the St. Anthony project, which had a total price tag of $29 million.
Preckwinkle also cited some $200,000 recently provided by the county to Lansing in grants to be used for local street repairs, specifically to Chicago Avenue from 175th to 178th streets that would improve access to the St. Anthony facility.
“I like ribbon-cutting ceremonies. I like when a project is done,” Preckwinkle said. “This means we have better, and more, affordable housing that will make this a nicer community to live in.”
This project took several years to complete because of problems with the economy that delayed financing for construction. Approved back in the village president term of Dan Podgorski, actual construction did not begin until August 2012.
In all, county officials say they have provided $55 million in funds to projects in the south suburbs since Preckwinkle became County Board president at the end of 2010.
Antonio Riley, a Midwest administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Preckwinkle deserves praise for the way she used federal funds to bolster a community housing project.
“President Preckwinkle knows how to leverage federal funds for best use,” Riley said.
The St. Anthony housing development has 125 apartment units that opened in mid-August. As of Tuesday, 56 of those were filled. Rick Banas, vice president of BMA Management Ltd., which manages the facility, said that is a good occupancy level for a new project.
Moore, whose district dips south into Calumet City and Lansing, said he is not through watching out for the interests of the community.
“I’m working with the mayor of Lansing for more projects, I’m talking with the mayor of South Holland,” Moore said. “It’s all a part of my district, and I’m trying to look out for everybody’s interests.”