Team Illinois Gives Report Card

Team Illinois Gives Report Card
By: Ryan Tate
Cairo, IL - Team Illinois gave the public a look at what has been accomplished over the past two and a half years. It includes hosting events, partnering with towns for projects, consulting, and other programs.
"It helps generate dialogue so action can be taken," Vernon Stubblefield said. Stubblefield is the Secretary for the Team Illinois/Alexander County Team Illinois Organizing Network. "I think some people thought Team Illinois was a blank check for the problems of the area, but it is not."
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced the Team Illinois Program back in 2003, and said he would not accept failure. He said his administration's future depended on how well the program did. The program targeted four of the poorest cities in Illinois, with Cairo included. But state leaders wanted to help a larger number of people, so they included all of Alexander County.
Stubblefield estimates the program has accomplished 65% of its goals since 2003 in Alexander County.
Future projects include work on Fort Defiance State Park, the Thebes Courthouse, sewer repair in Cairo, and a new Kindergarten through 12 grade school complex in Cairo.
<The Governor announced his re-election last week. Now he's talking about this program. Is it a coincidence?
We're at the Southern end of Illinois. It's not a coincidence.
VERNON STUBBLEFIELD IS THE SECRETARY FOR THE ALEXANDER COUNTY TEAM ILLINOIS ORGANIZING NETWORK.
When I look at your accomplishments, it looks like a lot of meetings, forums.
That is true. But it helps generate dialogue so action can be taken.
STUBBLEFIELD ADMITS HE CAN'T PUT A NUMBER ON HOW MUCH MONEY HAS FILTERED INTO ALEXANDER COUNTY BECAUSE OF THE PROGRAM.
BUT HE SAYS THERE WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING IN THE COMMUNITY ON WHAT TEAM ILLINOIS WOULD DO.
HE BELIEVES SOME THOUGHT THERE WAS A BLANK CHECK.
I'd say we met 65 percent of our objectives.
STUBBLEFIELD SAYS SOME OF THAT INCLUDES NEW COMPUTERS AT CAIRO HIGH SCHOOL.
THE GROUP RECEIVED 60 NEW CELLS PHONES FOR THE AREA, AND GAVE FOUR TO SCHOOL LEADERS.
THIS USED TO BE THE OLD THEBES HIGH SCHOOL.
STUBBLEFIELD SAYS ITS GONE, THANKS TO THE EFFORTS OF TEAM ILLINOIS TO FIND THE MONEY.
FUTURE PROJECTS INCLUDE WORK AT FORT DEFIANCE STATE PARK, AND THE THEBES COURTHOUSE.
How long have you lived in the area?
All my life.
Has Team Illinois worked?
I give it a B.>