Build Up Cook

Build Up Cook

Build Up Cook is a transformational program aimed at addressing critical infrastructure needs in municipalities in Cook County. By working directly with and understanding the needs of communities, Build Up Cook provides resources and expertise to improve the quality of life across Cook County.

What is Build Up Cook? 

Build up Cook is a $20 million project funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) to bring the County’s resources directly to communities.

The team at BAM has extensive technical expertise and knowledge, and employs and contracts with hundreds of skilled tradespeople, engineers, and experts. Build Up Cook lends these County resources to communities to assist in accomplishing infrastructure projects. Program staff work with municipalities to address capital and infrastructure needs.

Over the past year, BAM has worked with partners to pilot and design the Build Up Cook program. In late 2023, Build Up Cook will transition into Phase 1 of the program rollout, which will entail a listening tour with 26 priority municipalities, identification of priority capital needs, scope, and implementation of a series of capital and capacity building projects. 

Why is this program needed? 

Across the country, aging and declining infrastructure has posed a significant challenge to the resiliency and safety of communities. Cook County is no exception. Federal funding opportunities exist, but the barriers to entry are often challenging to communities already managing limited resources, which creates a cycle of further disinvestment. In an effort to break this cycle, Build Up Cook aims to extend a helping hand to municipalities most in need. By connecting them with essential resources and support, we address infrastructure issues and foster sustainable growth.

What impact is Build Up Cook having?

Through pilot partnerships, Build Up Cook has already completed several infrastructure projects and anticipates completing many more in the coming year, including replacing a water main, lift station generator, fire hydrants, repairing critical Village Hall structures, and even demolitions when needed. The program is also rolling out capacity building pilots, such as site assessment and design, technical assistance with federal grant implementation, and water infrastructure planning. All of these pilot projects allow municipalities to benefit and bureau staff to improve program delivery for phase 1. 

Who can I contact with questions about Build Up Cook?

Please email with any questions or if you represent any of the priority communities and wish to set up an initial conversation about your capital and infrastructure needs.

Which Cook County municipalities are eligible for the program?

The following municipalities will receive priority consideration in Phase 1 of the Build Up Cook program rollout.

Blue Island Ford Heights Posen 
Broadview HarveyRiverdale 
Calumet CityLansingSauk Village 
Calumet ParkLynwoodSouth Chicago Heights 
Chicago Heights MarkhamStickney 
Cicero MaywoodStone Park 
Dixmoor Park ForestSummit

Priority/project map


How were Phase 1 communities selected?

The prioritization of communities receiving assistance from Build Up Cook was driven by the values of the Policy Roadmap: Equity, Engagement, and Excellence. A Municipality Prioritization Tool was developed to rank Cook County municipalities based on need, past investment and proximity to each other. The tool leveraged both quantitative and qualitative review by an Interagency Working Group made up of the Bureau of Asset Management, Bureau of Economic Development, Department of Transportation and Highways, Department of Environmental Sustainability, and Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security. First, the quantitative review began by ranking all municipalities based on the Equitable Distribution Model (EDM) used to distribute County Cares Act funds. Then the IWG conducted a qualitative review, considering both the amount of past County infrastructure investment and the potential for broader impact. Municipalities with less past investment received higher priority. Municipalities clustered closer to one another also received higher priority, because of the potential for interjurisdictional collaboration. Finally, to continue responsive engagement, priority was given to municipalities already selected for pilot projects.