Rosemont offers grants for home improvements

November 6, 2008 3:06:54 PM PST
Most local governments are struggling to make ends meet. But one Chicago suburb is taking in so much money, it can afford to give homeowners a check for more than $2,800.

Rosemont draws a lot of business from concerts to conventions. There are more hotel rooms than residents there. For years, they have been getting something back for living in a village that wants to share its good fortunes.

James Marnos is proud of the driveway he got put in.

"It really brightens up this corner here," he said.

Marnos has lived in his Rosemont home for 25 years and has made other improvements here and there, projects they were able to afford because of money they get every year from the village.

"The fact is that it helps to have a little extra," Marnos said.

Grants are handed out to homeowners that apply for them. The village of 4,000 sets aside about $1 million a year for the grants, money that comes from the profits of all of their hotels, convention center and Allstate Arena. The mayor, Brad Stephens, continues to hand out the grants, a practice started in 1995 by his late father and mayor Donald Stephens.

"We believe that we run it like a business, and the residents are our shareholders. And they get the benefit of having these facilities in our community," Brad Stephens said.

The amount of money they get is based on the value of his or her home. The maximum is $2,860.

"They put the money into their property and it makes for a better community," Brad Stephens said.

They say the residents take the grant as a sign of appreciation. Marnos is already thinking about future projects for his home.

"It is all our money. If they are not utilizing all of the money and can give you some of it back, I think that is fabulous," he said.

Residents can apply as of Wednesday. As of Thursday afternoon, 65 people had already applied.


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