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(Left to Right) - Lion Lori Linn, Morris Lions Club President; Darlene Schneider, GCHA Resident; Lion Ryan Howe; T. Brent Newman, GCHA CEO; Lion Irene Leopold, Incoming Morris Lions Club President.

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Paving It Forward

Lion Club to pay for engineering work to increase parking at Saratoga Tower

The Lions of Club in Morris is Paving it Forward and the Grundy County Housing Authority could not be more grateful.

At its most recent meeting, held at Saratoga Tower in Morris, the club voted to pay for the engineering drawings for expanded parking at the building.

“Until we had our meeting here,” noted Lions Club President Lori Linn, “we had absolutely no idea the breadth of the programming that occurs from this building.  Lions serve, and couldn’t be more pleased to be serving the community in this way.”

Housing Authority Vice President of Development Jennifer Olson, explained, “In recent years, as the Housing Authority has been involved in doing more and more to help provide services to the residents of Grundy County, parking has come to be a premium at the building. This donation will literally help lay the foundation for us to better serve thousands of Grundy County residents.”

Olson went on to note that in addition to being home to about 100 low-income elderly and disabled residents, Saratoga Tower is also home to the regional office of Community Nutrition Network, the Grundy County office of the Will Grundy Center for Independent Living, and a Joliet Junior College program offering basic computer skills to seniors trying to re-enter the workforce.

Pave it Forward is a GCHA capital campaign to help provide for additional parking for those and other services originating from Saratoga Tower.

“CNN provides meals to low-income seniors at Saratoga Tower and throughout both Kendall and Grundy counties. Last year, they were responsible for providing 60,000 meals — 20,000 of those meals were served at Saratoga Tower. Another 20,000 meals were delivered by volunteers to home-bound seniors throughout Grundy County from Saratoga Tower,” said Olson.

“WGCIL helps people with disabilities by providing a whole host of services.  People from all around Grundy County come to Saratoga Tower for the information and referral, advocacy, and education they offer in their office,” Brent Newman, C.E.O. at GCHA added. “All in all, it has become very difficult to park at the building.”

Because of all of the residents, volunteers, students, and members of the public who all come to the building, Olson approached “D” Construction of Coal City last year to discuss an expansion of the parking.

“The people at ‘D’ have been so encouraging, and just amazing. They immediately pledged $10,000 in labor and materials to help us with the project. However, we still needed engineering completed so we can get city approval.”

Not daunted, Olson went to Chamlin and Associates, an engineering firm with a long-standing relationship with GCHA, and asked for help.

“Chamlin was great when we talked to them. Like all businesses, they have overhead and expenses they have to meet, but they were incredibly generous in the discount they quoted us for helping with the plans we need.  We are so happy for their help,” said Olson.

Based on the discussions they’ve had with “D” Construction, Newman and Olson believe the total cost of the project will be about $50,000.00.

“We’ll have a better handle on what the actual engineering cost estimate is after we have plans completed by Chamlin,” said Newman. “We know we still have a long way to go to make this a reality for the people who will get help, but we also know that if we all work together this is something that will happen.

“The Lions Club of Morris has helped us make the very first step we need to take. What an incredibly dynamic, considerate group of people.”

If you are interested in serving Grundy County as part of the Lions Club of Morris, you can contact Lion President Lori Linn at (815) 942-8262, Lion Irene Leopold at (815) 483-3715 or visit them online at

If you would like to donate or volunteer, or just gain more information, you can visit the Grundy Housing Authority online at  You can also call Jennifer Olson, GCHA vice president of development, at (815) 600-2907.