ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Thursday, the Rockford Housing Authority unanimously approved the demolition of Brewington Oaks Apartments.
RHA first announced its intentions to demolish the property in 2018. At the time, occupancy at the buildings was at just 42% and 90 of the 418 units had been deemed uninhabitable.
Recently, the agency had explored redevelopment proposals that would have kept the complex intact.
“I feel we’ve done our due diligence on exploring other options,” said RHA Board Chairman Karen Hoffman.
RHA held meetings with nearby neighborhood associations earlier this month to discuss different options. Board members say while some advocated for the buildings to stay, most agreed demolition was for the best.
“They’re going to continue to deteriorate the longer that they’re there, we have to keep all the utilities on so that way we can continue to maintain it. Water breaks, fire suppression systems failures, could cost us millions of dollars into a building that’s vacant,” said Rockford Housing Authority CEO Laura Snyder.
N-Trak out of Loves Park will tear the buildings down at a cost of roughly $1.5 million. Some residents, like business owner Guy Spinello, still maintain that knocking down the buildings is a mistake.
“There’s nothing wrong with the buildings. Yes, they may need updating now, because they’re 40 or 50 years old, but the basic buildings are all poured concrete, they’re strong, they’re built well,” said Guy Spinello.
Spinello is worried there aren’t enough affordable housing options for older residents in the Forest City.
“There’s lots of people that need housing, elderly people. And I’m sure if you talked to the churches you’d find that there’s plenty of people to fill those 418 units.”
Board members hope to have the teardown done in the next several months. In the meantime, RHA will continue welcoming resident feedback on potential new development for the space moving forward.