RIVERDALE | For Mary Davis of the 14500 block of Lowe Avenue, National Rebuilding Day on Saturday was a plus.
Her home was one of two in the south suburb that got picked by Cook County government, with direction from Riverdale municipal government, to have county employees come in and do some repairs to make the place look better in the neighborhood.
Davis said crews came in and painted frames around windows, touched up her lawn and garden and also made other minor repairs throughout the house.
Another resident, Katie Williams, who lives three blocks to the north on Lowe Avenue, had crews build a ramp to her front door to replace stairs that existed previously.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who visited both properties Saturday afternoon, said the ramp was necessary because Williams’ physical condition is such that she can no longer navigate the stairs, and had not been outside her house for a year because of it.
“That ramp was built, and she was able to go to church for the first time in a year,” said Preckwinkle, who was on hand to see how county employees who volunteered their labor as part of the National Rebuilding Day project succeeded.
Preckwinkle, who said this is the 23rd year that county government has cooperated with National Rebuilding Day efforts, said she was pleased with the work she saw, adding that much of the work being done related to bringing homes into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She also said she thinks the work reflects well on the skills of county government workers in general.
“Government employees are often criticized; they don’t work hard, they’re malingerers,” said Preckwinkle. “We all see now that isn’t true.”
Village President Lawrence Jackson said he was pleased with the county’s contribution to his home community. While wishing there could be more funds and labor available through the program, “we’re appreciative of what we got.”
He said village officials recommended Davis and Williams to county officials for home repairs because of a combination of their age, income and physical condition – factors that would have made it difficult for the women to pay for such improvements to their homes on their own.
Cook County government contributed $70,000 in Community Block Development Grant funds to Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago, which has 78 such residential projects taking place across the Chicago area.
Executive Director Wanda Ramirez said she enjoys the projects because, “it brings me into contact with amazing people who do amazing work.”