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September 15, 2000

Governor Announces $750,000 Grant to Champaign

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan and State Rep. Rick Winkel, R-Champaign, today announced that the City of Champaign has been awarded a grant in the amount of $750,000 for infrastructure improvements to facilitate development at the South Center of the University of Illinois Research Park.

"Technology continues to play a vital role in our efforts to improve the quality of life for all Illinois citizens," Ryan said. "We have a tremendous resource in the faculty, students, and research staff at the University of Illinois, and we need to assist them in bringing that technology to market in a more efficient manner. Rick Winkel's support for this grant was vital in securing it's passage in the General Assembly. This project owes a lot to Rick Winkel."

The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs will award the grant through the Illinois FIRST program. Illinois FIRST, a fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools, and Transit, was designed with this type of project in mind. Funds will be used by the City of Champaign to construct sidewalks, roads, and storm sewers to facilitate construction of the necessary incubator space to give students and professors an edge in transferring needed technology to Illinois markets.

"Economic development is a main component of the Illinois FIRST program," said Pam McDonough, Director of the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. "When completed, the Research Park will provide companies access to some of the best research facilities, programs, and personnel in the state."

The new Research Park on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus will help Governor Ryan meet one of his most important technology goals: the transfer of technology into the marketplace. By combining a cutting edge research institution with Illinois' high-technology businesses and the talented workforce graduating at the U of I, Illinois will create more jobs and enhance economic development.

The Research Park has two separate sites, a North Center in the heart of the University's engineering campus, and a South Center, located on 138 acres south of the main campus. The larger of the two sites, the South Center, will be home to the University's new state-of-the-art incubator lab, scheduled to be completed in early 2002. Over 70 high-tech companies, including Intel, Amdocs, IBM, and Cisco Systems are already taking advantage of the community's strengths.


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