DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — In May, the city of Decatur implemented its Geographic Information System for people to apply for money to fix their homes but that’s only a part of the project.
“The city of Decatur has a lot of dilapidated property that needs to be demolished,” Cordaryl Patrick of Decatur said.
So, the city is stepping in and hoping to bring big changes. Earlier this year, homeowners were invited to participate in a survey to assess any damages that needed to be repaired. The city received hundreds of applications and immediately got to work.
“We’ve used GIS once again to collect information from homeowners who need this assistance to repair damage to the roof, to put in a new air conditioner or maybe there’s medically necessary improvements or ramp to the front door if you’re in a wheelchair,” Seth Stark of Decatur said.
Decatur is using its $11,000,000 in American Rescue Plan money to pay for other resources. They include the Small Improvement Program which helps people in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods with small home repairs, up to $15,000. Another is the Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods initiative.
“How do we make that street more functional right, how do we sure that folks are able to bike and walk along the corner, make it safe along the corridor,” Patrick said.
Geographic Information System or GIS is the latest tool helping city organizations make these changes.
“We have dilapidated buildings in this neighborhood, and we can also overlay our emergency response calls and say you know we’re getting an abnormally high number of fire related calls in this neighborhood as well,” Patrick said.
Cordaryl Patrick, the Community Development Director says neighbors’ feedback is important to determine which areas need the most help.
“How do we build neighborhood capacity, how do we work with the neighborhood organization to ground root organizations in that particular area to make sure that we’re building our capacity to be able to do this work along long term,” Patrick said.
He also says the community’s voice helps encourage people to stick around.
“We’re working with neighborhood organizations, part of this project to build our capacity to be able to do the things in the community that they want to see done in their community,” Patrick said.
Patrick told us the city has undergone projects like this before, but it helps to have millions of dollars on their side to take on larger projects.