ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The West side of Rockford could look very different in the coming years, as a non-profit organization is planning a new affordable housing development.
Fourteen-point-four acres of empty land on S. Avon Street, near Kent Creek, will be getting a 64-apartment housing unit, social services center, childcare space, and more if the project is approved.
“Well, two years ago we are started looking at, ‘how do we really affect the investments from the corporation into our community,'” said Ron Clewer, vice president of the Rockford Housing Development Corporation. “RHDC, Rockford Housing Development Corporation, is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote affordable housing and improve the quality of real estate in the community.”
Clewer said the development would be used for “affordable housing needs, increasing affordable home ownership, increasing generational wealth, and making sure folks who choose to live with us have better access to jobs and to quality of life amenities.”
Rockford Housing and developer Gorman and Company have plans that would also use a nearby historic building as an “artist incubator.”
The entire project would take three years to build and is located on a former Brownfield site that will need to be cleaned up. Brownfield sites may have previously contained hazardous materials.
“The soils were removed, new soils were put in the soil has been cleared for residential use, as well as the use you see coming with residential like kids playing on the grass, park use, that kind of stuff.” Clewer said.
Neighbor Dorothy Chapman said she had lived in the area for nearly 50 years and said she welcomed a chance to make her community look nicer.
“Whoever is responsible for it, they have to help keep it up, monitor it, and I think…not only in this area, but all over Rockford,” she said.
The Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the project again at their next meeting.
Between now and then, Rockford Housing Development Corporation will meet with the West Gateway Coalition and 13th Ward Alderman Linda McNeely to address any concerns.