Joliet Park District Rescinds Lease To Joliet Township Following Controversial Grant For Asylum Seekers

A big meeting tonight as Joliet Township holds their first public meeting following reports that the township secured an $8.6 million grant to help asylum seekers without the consent and approval of the Joliet City Council, Will County Board or local Reps and State Senators with the exception of State Senator Rachel Ventura who told WJOL that she knew about the grant but claims she didn’t know the details.

More details of the grant include opening three Welcome Centers which flies in the face of Township Supervisor Angel Contreras’ statement to the Herald News claiming the grant money would support the Spanish Community Center and Will-Grundy Medial Clinic so that they don’t go under. The grant would open and operate three Welcome Centers and 1 Welcome Clinic for Asylum seekers in Joliet.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at the Bicentennial Park at 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Joliet Park District canceled a pending lease with the township after learning that its Hartman Recreation Center was included in the list of welcome centers.

A statement from the Joliet Park District reads in part;The township representatives misrepresented what the Hartman Center would be used for during several meetings including a presentation to the Park District Board. Until we saw a copy of the grant application and saw the Hartman Recreation Center listed as a Welcome Center, we trusted they were going to do what they said, which was use it for community events, a farmers market, and moving some of their offices from Jefferson Street, NOT a migrant welcome center.

Further it was a year ago the Joliet Township wanted to buy the Hartman Center but the Park Board wanted to lease it to them for 6 months first to make sure the community responded favorably. A 6 month lease agreement was set to begin Oct 1st. Once the park district learned that they were listed on the grant as a Welcome Center they rescinded the lease.