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East Bluff Community Readies For Big Additions

Land-use zoning changes give leaders the green light to add duplexes.

PEORIA - The revitalization process of the East Bluff Community is taking a big step forward.

City Council approved land-use changes allowing a major construction project to begin.

 With $3 million dollars already in their pocket Local Initiative Support Coalition- or LISC- is partnering with seven business and no-profits. They are on the verge of making some big additions.

“To see that new development in, what we call the East Village Growth Cell area is just going to be powerful,” said District 3 Councilman Tim Riggenbach, who has worked hard to help rebuild the East Bluff Community since 2006.

Some big additions are coming to the East Bluff Community, including eight new duplexes to be put up in vacant lots, housing those with disabilities.

“There is an inordinate amount of vacant lots in the area. So it wasn't hard to assemble those lots. But they did need to be rezoned for the multi family used,” said Riggenbach.

City Council's approval of eight duplexes- rental homes- will fill some of the vacant lots in the East Bluff.

“The new construction and the real dollars being invested in the lots down the street from you is going to be a good thing for the neighborhood.”

Kristina Gamez is the Executive Director of the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Service. She will be the smiling face welcoming residents into their new homes.

“I'm not only the face of the East Bluff, but I'm going to be the face of the new residents in the community. I'm going to be the welcome committee so to speak,” she said.

There will be plenty of people to welcome in. Fourteen housing units- four new, ten remade- are also in the works.

“It's a positive thing. It's all positive thing.”

These homes are intended for middle-income families.

“A family of four that makes up to $90,000 dollars could potentially buy these homes,” explained Riggenbach

Riggenbach says the middle class used to make up the East Bluff.  

“That's what we're hoping to see it become again.”

It’s a vision leaders had in 2006 when they began putting together the blueprints for the revitalized community. Now that vision is finally starting to become a reality.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office awarded the $3 million to the LISC and community groups in 2013.
All of that is to be spent on the East Bluff with a third of the money going to the duplexes.

The funds are part of the state’s $70 million piece of the National Foreclosure Settlement.

The groups partnering with the LISC include Busey Bank, METEC HCRC, novadebt, Peoria Opportunities Foundation, Neighborhood Housing Services, Jim Maloof and the IFF.

They’re called Partners for a Better East Bluff.
 
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