CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — People in Champaign are expressing concerns with the construction of tiny homes being built in Carver Park.
Project organizers and city leaders met with people at the Douglass Annex Center on Thursday night. Many felt unheard and used the opportunity to express that. Some said they’re not against housing for the homeless, but they are against the project being done at the expense of their neighborhood.
“What the concern here was and is, that it appears this is dumping on another Black community all over again,” Housing Advocate Terry Townsend said.
Some people said this will be one more organization taking up space in their community, but Hope Village Board Member Phillip Rowell said these houses are important for bettering lives.
“These are people that have either have life threatening illnesses, injuries. They need additional support from a medical standpoint, maybe from a nutritional standpoint, a return to work. These are all things that we recognize,” Rowell said.
Neighbors who live near Carver Park, Crispus Attucks Park and Ellis Drive where the project is happening said this will lead to even bigger issues. Traffic and access, drainage, and the detention pond were just some points of concern. Construction is already underway and the goal is to build 30 homes for struggling community members.
Rowell said he hears the frustrations and that meetings like these are crucial.
“I appreciate the advocacy,” he said. “So if anyone in any neighborhood across Champaign, Urbana, Savoy or surrounding communities has a concern, we have a mechanism.”
People at the meeting said they think this should have been handled differently.
“We ask that you please let this be a lesson moving forward that communication and proper notification is essential in having a good relationship with the community,” one speaker said.
Rowell said he and other board members have until the end of the year to submit an application to the city. He said the concerns people addressed are beyond his control and they must contact city officials in Champaign and Urbana.
Project organizers include Carle Foundation Hospital, Champaign County Healthcare, and the University of Illinois. It’s a $7 million project. Carle’s Mobile Health and Grocery Units will rotate through the village.
The tiny home community is being constructed near Cardinal Court and Federal Drive.