Tuesday’s announcement that the Rockford Housing Authority plans to demolish the Brewington Oaks apartment complex has left residents with mixed emotions.
The twin towers of Brewington Oaks have been in Rockford since 1969, making it one of the city’s oldest housing units.
“We just had a meeting yesterday, saying that…they were going to tear it down,” said Judy Beck, who has been a resident at Brewington Oaks for five years.
“Don’t tear the place down,” said Tyrone Muhammad, who has lived there for fourteen years. “It’s been good to me.”
The aging infrastructure is almost 50 years old. One resident, who has lived in the building for twelve years says it would take a lot to improve the place.
“There’s a lot of riff-raff, you know,” intoned Robert Mangurem. “Like the water dripping and going on all the time. A lot of plumbing issues. It needs to be either fixed or torn down.”
According to the RHA, the buildings are at 42 percent capacity, and 90 of the 418 units are uninhabitable.
“I agree with them. It’s about time,” said resident Hester Moore. “A lot of the units are unoccupied. You know, it’s time to move on.”
Others, like Muhammad, says the prime location of the apartments in relation to downtown Rockford is the reason he has stayed there for so long.
“A lot of [areas] don’t got no store. You got a long way to go. I got used to this store right over here at the gas station,” he said. “I can put gas in my car, I am right here. They’ve got a lot of convenient things over here and I am satisfied with it.”
RHA plans to relocate the residents of Brewington Oaks. Judy Beck is looking forward to it.
“I don’t know where I want to go yet. I do want to look around. Before I move somewhere, I want to look to see what it looks like and stuff,” Beck said. “It’s going to be lonely, this building being gone. But I don’t know, just go wherever I am going to move and be happy.”
Moore said she’s taking news of the demolition “One day at a time. One day at a time. But right now, I am happy,” she said.
Currant tenants will be able to apply for tenant protection vouchers and will be relocated.
The RHA says it plans to turn the property into ‘green space’. We reached out for more specifics on that plan, but RHA did not provide comment for this article.