WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. – Some Washington Park residents are wanting to know when the village will be able to replace its municipal building, which was destroyed by fire in October 2021.  

The building housed Washington Park’s police, fire and public works departments. Plans to rebuild are contingent on state funding. 

State Rep. Kevin Schmidt (R-Cahokia Heights), said state law requires the village to submit five years of financial records before receiving a grant to rebuild. For Washington Park, that requirement is a problem.

“The previous mayor destroyed all the financial records,” said Schmidt. He introduced HB 2341, which would allow communities without the necessary records to appear before a commission to make their case.

Schmidt said the bill has 50 co-sponsors and passed unanimously out of committee.  He predicts it would easily pass the full house, but there has yet to be a vote.

“I’m just wanting an answer for the people of Washington Park on why the bill is not being heard,” said Schmidt. “I suspect it’s an issue of politics over people, which is never a good thing.”

“I feel like we don’t matter,” said Washington Park resident Tammi Cotton amid the wait. She hopes lawmakers find a way to approve the money as soon as possible.

“We need the police station. We need the fire department,” said Cotton.

The fire department has been operating out of a private warehouse on a temporary basis. The police department has been operating from space at the village hall. Schmidt said the city is seeking $600,000 from the state to rebuild.