Details emerged last week about how $500 million in state funds appropriated for the DISCOVERY PARTNERS INSTITUTE and ILLINOIS INNOVATION NETWORK will be distributed.
Speaking with NPR Illinois, University of Illinois officials confirmed that “roughly” half the funds will go toward the Chicago-based DPI, a proposed U of I system-led research institute to be located in the South Loop. Another $100 million apiece will go toward the university’s Chicago and Urbana campuses.
This leaves just about $50 million for the remaining schools in the innovation network, which includes hubs across the state that will connect to the yet-to-be-built DPI. Every public university in the state, including the University of Illinois Springfield, will host a hub in the network. The goal is to accelerate economic growth statewide through research and innovation.
In an email Friday, U of I spokesman Tom Hardy confirmed that $15 million has been set aside for UIS, adding that the large disparity in funds for the Springfield campus versus Chicago and Urbana comes down to research.
“Research is a key driver of innovation and UIUC and UIC have substantially larger research portfolios than UIS,” Hardy said. “Further, the DPI hub should be viewed as a common home for this initiative — not only utilized for world-class research but also as a resource for the other 14 hubs in Illinois.”
Hardy said this explanation applies to the state’s other universities, who will each likely see at least $1 million for their hubs.
The U of I board of trustees unanimously endorsed the DPI/IIN concept.
While supportive of the concept, Gov. J.B. PRITZKER has been adamant that matching funds be raised before the $500 million appropriation is released. To that end, about $245 million in non-state funds have been committed by the U of I system as well as Northern Illinois University, while corporations and foundations have committed nearly $103 million, Hardy said.
The Springfield hub is being housed in downtown business and social innovation incubator Innovate Springfield, which the university took over in August 2018. While remaining in their second floor space at 15 S. Old State Capitol Plaza for the time being, the university plans to move to or a build a larger space in downtown Springfield.
Last week, the Springfield City Council approved an ordinance declaring the city’s full support for a downtown “mini-campus” that would be shared by UIS and Southern Illinois University.
While SIU’s portion of the proposed campus is expected to include a law school or public policy component, much the UIS portion of the space would be dedicated to the hub.
Following a planting season mired by extreme weather, the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE has declared all 102 of Illinois’ counties an agriculture disaster area.
Pritzker requested the declaration in early July after untimely rains this spring left farmers weeks behind schedule as they waited for their soaked-out fields to dry.
“I’m heartened that the USDA has approved my request for an agriculture disaster so a vital industry that supports so many working families across the state can rebuild and continue to thrive in our state,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Pritzker and state farm officials hope the declaration, which will allow farmers to access additional USDA resources, puts the state’s agricultural community on the road to recovery.
“Most of this year has tested Illinois farmers’ mental and physical fortitude,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr. “Weather variability, from unrelenting spring rains to extreme July heat, has caused uncertainty in our communities as we head toward what is sure to be a long harvest. The Secretarial Disaster Declaration is a recognition of our struggles in 2019 through the availability of federal resources to aid our recovery.”
According to the USDA crop progress report for the week ending Aug. 4, just 29 percent of the state’s corn crop is at dough stage compared to 79 percent at this time last year. About 30 percent of soybeans are setting pods versus 83 percent last year.
SPRINGFIELD ARCHERY, 1550 Recreation Drive, announced last week that it is going out of business.
The shop, which sells bows and other archery accessories, opened in August 2014. It is expected to remain open until all inventory is sold, which should run at least through the end of the month, according to store bow tech Tim Madden.
What led to the decision to close was “not any one thing,” but Madden said contributing factors included an overall decline in the archery industry and the advent of online sales.
From now until they close, store hours are noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The city of Springfield will host an open house Wednesday for the proposed road improvements along Archer Elevator Road between Wabash Avenue and Greenbriar Drive.
Those who attend will learn more about the construction timeline, anticipated construction staging and planned detours. There will also be a brief presentation highlighting the project’s potential impact to the Franklin’s ground squirrel and efforts to mitigate those impacts.
The open house will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2200 S. Meadowbrook Road.
Filed at Springfield Building and Zoning, July 29 – 4:
WALMART, 3401 S. Freedom Drive; remodel
YMCA, 601 N. Fourth St.; foundation
MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM, 701 N. First St.; remodel
INN AT 835, 835 S. Second St.; temporary tent (August 29 – Sept. 4)
Ribbon cuttings through the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce:
HOPE VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, 6444 S. Sixth Street Frontage Road; August 12
Brenden Moore covers business issues for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at 788-1528, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/brendenmoore13.