Kathy Shoop at Peoria County Board
KATHY SHOOP'S SPEECH TO THE PEORIA COUNTY BOARD
Thursday, July 22, 2010
My name is Kathy Shoop. My husband and I live at 613 N. Magnolia in Elmwood. I am both a business owner and property owner in Elmwood. I also serve as the Elmwood Township Supervisor. Mr. Chairman O'Neil and members of the County Board, I welcome the opportunity to share some brief thoughts about the future of Elmwood. First, we are indebted for the various services and assistance that the County has extended to the residents of Elmwood. You do so without hesitation. We are grateful for your contributions. It was also my pleasure to work with the county planners to help draft the disaster recovery plan. The staff was very knowledgeable and professional.
The magnitude of the storm that devastated Elmwood June 5th is at times too much to comprehend. Before June 5th, FEMA was only something I read about in the paper or listened to on the news, but after June 5th the reality struck that many government agencies would have a big impact on Elmwood's future. Due to a great Countywide emergency siren; everyone had ample time to take shelter, protecting people from the storm. The emergency groups and police did an outstanding job in the days that followed, securing our town, protecting assets and policing the community. We are thankful for that. We are also thankful that the residential areas were spared and the storm did not impact the more populated Peoria area. As i stood in the rubble on Wednesday, I felt relief knowing there were no funerals to attend.
Elmwood is proud of its heritage. The downtown business district is full of century old buildings. Some of these buildings have already been demolished and more will have to come down. Many of us are trying to look at this disaster as an opportunity for Elmwood to become bigger and better. We would like to rebuild and restore the business district to provide new businesses, services, job opportunities and housing for the people of Elmwood and the surrounding communities. We are confident this can be done. We stand ready to do so.
The importance of the passing of these resolutions is paramount for Elmwood to begin restoration and reconstruction. Without your help, many properties and businesses will likely fail. Several businesses have already decided not to reopen. Other businesses are prepared to renovate and/or rebuild. We are not asking for a handout, we are in fact asking for some short term relief that will help us jump start the rebuilding process. The county has helped us create a good disaster recovery plan and the city is committed to implementing the plan as soon as possible.
As businesses owners and residents of Elmwood we stand ready to move forward. The resolutions that you are considering tonight are essential for us to do so. Our commitment is to restore the heart of the city in a quality manner that we all will be proud of. Again we appreciate the emergency assistance that you provided soon after the tornado hit. You made a difference. Tonight we are asking that you pass the resolutions to enable a permanent solution. Thank you.