Friday, June 3, 2016

Neighbors Hope New Funding Will Tear Down More Vacant Houses

PEORIA, Ill. -- New funding could help demolish vacant homes in Peoria. Thursday, the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced a $10.5 million investment in communities across the state.

Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity will get $770,000 to tear down about 22 properties by 2017.

"By having a big impact in a small area, we hope to see a ripple effect," said Peoria's 3rd District Council Member, Tim Riggenbach. "We saw that to a large degree last year. This additional money is only going to make that ripple that much larger."

The details are still being worked out, but the money is expected to help areas in the South Side and East Bluff. Neighbors hope the new funding goes a long way in turning their communities around. For the last 45 years, Bobette Shrode has lived on South Greenlawn Avenue in Peoria. Over the years, neighbors left town, leaving dozens of homes battered and neglected.

"A lot of the houses that are so bad, you wonder why they are still even standing because the people let them go," said Shrode. "There's really no property value down here anymore."

Last year, Peoria went full-force in demolishing vacant homes. The city ran short on money in July, after tearing down more than 70 houses for about $700,000. Only one empty house is left standing on Shrode's block.

"It's better to have a vacant lot than a dilapidated house," said Shrode.

The new funding will help tear down an additional 22 houses and landscape the areas. Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity will handle the project. They will work with city officials to determine which houses are top-priority.

"I think this will be able to help because instead of just seeing a bunch of vacant houses, we will see a lot of green landscape and fresh air on this end," said Peoria resident, Angela Traylor. "It will make it great."

Council Member Tim Riggenbach said he is also looking forward to using leftover money from the Attorney Generals Grant in the East Bluff Neighborhood. Six new houses are expected to be built along with another six renovations.

Beau Ebenezer - 

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