Questions answered on housing proposal

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A neighborhood with questions about a proposed $15 million housing project came together to get answers. 

The housing is headed downtown and the proposal has been given to the Illinois Development Authority (IDA). 

Since the homes would be put downtown, people who live there still have some mixed reviews. The room was filled with about three dozen people. All of them from Danville, mostly from the Second Ward which is near downtown. 

They were interested in hearing more about a housing development that’s been in the planning stages for more than a year. 

Jerry Hawker lives in the ward and hosted the meeting with Jaclyn Vinson, the executive director of the Danville Housing Authority. 

“I think it’s important that they come together and are given the facts rather than just dealing with hearsay,” states Hawker.

Vinson went through several proposed property locations on Hazel, Oak and Walnut streets. She clarified the housing wouldn’t be regulated or managed by Housing Urban Development. 

They’re working on creating a non-profit to manage the properties, if they’re awarded the tax credits to write off. With those clarifications, some people in the room felt better about what the proposal could do for the city.

“Remember it’s a $15 million investment in Vermilion County and there are some people whether we want to believe or not just have some bad luck, just have bad luck and they deserve a nice place,” says Jim McMahon.

Terry Lake has lived in the west end downtown for more than 20 years. He says the proposal is something they’ve been looking forward to. 

“Our goal always was, if we saw people build in the west end portion of the downtown we would like to see single family housing so it’s in tuned with what we already wanted,” states Lake.  

Others in the room were concerned about parking downtown and what this could mean for retail spaces. 

While the room left with mixed emotions, Hawker says everyone went home with more facts. 

“Hopefully the housing commission will react to that about what the residents said about parking and the concern about the tax exempt,” says Hawker.  

The IDA will make its decision in May. 

The developments include an apartment complex, a duplex and single family homes. The housing is based on the area’s median income of $35,000 – $40,000. There would be 70 units available. 

The IDA will make its decision based on a plan which has homes close to transportation, parks and shopping.

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