DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)– Last year, millions of dollars were available for revitalization, but most of that money never left the bank. Now one one group is trying to put it to good use. They want to bring more life to the Old Kings Orchard Neighborhood.
Bruce Bullamore has lived in Decatur off and on for several years. “There’s a lot of blight in the neighborhood. There’s a lot of social problems in the neighborhoods,” said Bruce Bullamore. One group is trying to do something about that. Bullamore organized a meeting at Grace Church to plan the future of Decatur.
“We need to develop a can do spirit among the people,” said Bullamore. They talked about the places that have potential for redevelopment, money, and how to turn the plan into reality. “The idea is to create a new level of partnership between the city and neighborhoods,” said Bullamore.
They’re hoping to do that with money the city hasn’t used yet. Last year, the city had 3 million dollars available for revitalization, but most of that money was never used. City Councilman David Horn says that’s because there were delays because leadership changed and revitilization wasn’t a top priority for everyone. The money was rolled over to this year. “Much of that money is going toward the puchase of Macon County truestee lots in which back taxes have not been paid for many years,” said Horn.
As part of those revitalization efforts city council approved demolition of over 40 homes in the area, but people in the area are still looking forward to more being done. “New businesses or expanded businesses. That would create a new center for this community,” said Bullamore,”Give people a reason to want to come back to this section of town.”
“I think what you’re going to see in the coming months is a much more deliberate and strategic approach to neighborhood revitalization.” said Horn.