Western Illinois Regional Council secures $1.5 million loan from USDA to purchase facility

The Western Illinois Regional Council and Community Action Agency secured a federal loan of nearly $1.5 million to purchase and upgrade its current offices.

The USDA rural development loan will allow the agency to continue and expand its services while reducing monthly expenses, according to WIRC Acting Executive Director John Pritchard.

“It’s a loan. It will be paid back, with interest. But it’s a long-term loan and the interest rate is favorable to the market,” Pritchard said. “So it will actually cost the agency a little less than the current rent.”

WIRC has leased its current space at 133 W. Jackson St. in downtown Macomb for nearly two years.

With the loan, the agency will be able to buy the property, make some renovations and acquire an adjacent warehouse.

Pritchard said the current space is already a significant expansion and improvement over the agency’s previous facilities in Macomb.

“It’s a much more efficient place to work. We’re able to maintain privacy for customers and a number of other things that are a plus,” Pritchard said.

The WIRC provides in-home energy assistance to low-income people, domestic violence and sexual assault counseling and prevention, a food pantry and clothing center, and housing assistance, among other services.

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced the federal support this week, saying it will allow the agency to help more people in need in western Illinois.

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Elna M. Lemons