GRAFTON, Ill. — Grafton is a small town on the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers with a population of 636, but possibly less after 2019's record flooding.
Reading from the letter he wrote to Governor J.B. Pritzker, Grafton Mayor Rick Eberlin said, "Our town has simply been devastated, aesthetically, structurally, economically devastated, more so than any other time in our storied history."
With $25,000 in the general fund, a shrinking savings account and the town still waiting for state, federal and FEMA flood recovery funds, the situation is looking bleak in Grafton.
Eberlin said many local businesses are failing to qualify for the stimulus offered.
Grafton is a tourist town that depends on the fair-weather seasons for its main attractions, all of which are currently shut down.
Continuing in his letter, Eberlin said, "Unfortunately, they are all closed. Without them, the other smaller shops, such as the ice cream shops, gift shops, antique shops and other businesses would not exist if they fail. Grafton will cease to exist as it currently is.”
The entire letter to Gov. Pritzker is a plea to let the town work with the county health department to develop their own strategy for reopening.
"Governor Pritzker I'm asking you to step aside or step outside of Chicago and the collar counties that surround it and reevaluate the one size fits all approach to essential and non-essential businesses," Eberlin wrote. "My town and our region are vastly different and deserve to reopen immediately. We can't wait until May 29."
Mayor Eberlin is waiting for a direct reply from Pritzker’s office.
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