Monday, March 30, 2015
by Kelsie Passolt
Rockford Housing Authority and aldermen meet to work through issues on government-assisted living. Both sides are figuring out how to move forward with one of Rockford’s public housing complexes– Fairgrounds Valley.
“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of years of distrust to overcome. But, I think there was a lot of really good dialogue, I think it opened up new ideas on how we could better work together,” says Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer.
There was more than two hours’ worth of discussion Monday night between Rockford Housing Authority and city aldermen on big picture items across the city and at Fairgrounds. RHA would like to sell federal tax credits to private investors and use that money to fix up Fairgrounds on West Jefferson Street. The site would be demolished and rebuilt with fewer units, then other units would be built near East State Street along South New Towne Drive.
Aldermen raise a lot of red flags with that. They’d like to see RHA communicate with the surrounding neighborhood near New Towne Drive about this plan first. Plus, they’d like to see RHA build new sites outside of Rockford.
“I personally have a lot of concerns that were not alleviated at this meeting,” says 2nd Ward Alderman Jamie Getchius.
Also, Monday night, it was anticipated that aldermen would be able to see proposed design plans for Fairgrounds. But, those aren’t ready yet, according to RHA CEO Ron Clewer. Ultimately, they’ll see design plans and vote on them before July.
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