PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Housing Authority on Thursday held a groundbreaking ceremony and press conference renaming the public housing complex Taft Homes to Providence Pointe.
Taft Homes was built in the 1950s and designed to house Korean War veterans, not families. The public housing complex will be demolished to make room for its 142-unit affordable housing replacement, Providence Pointe.
“It’s so exciting to be breaking ground on Providence Pointe, and celebrating all that affordable housing provides in the Peoria community,” said Jackie L. Newman, CEO of Peoria Housing Authority.
Newman said the upgrade will significantly improve the lives of those who call Taft “home.”
“The impact that this development will make: economic impact, the impact in terms of the quality of housing that will be here, and just the families that will be making new memories here at Providence Pointe,” she said.
Peoria Mayor Rita Ali said there are hundreds of people on the waiting list to get into public housing, and the city needs more affordable housing options in the area.
“Affordable housing is extremely important to Peoria and we just don’t have enough of it,” said Ali. “The need is there, the demand is there, but we have to provide opportunity.
Ali said Taft Homes has been an “eyesore” in the community, and this is a huge improvement for residents.
“I’ve looked at the designs, they’re great designs. They’re going to bring inspiration to the residents. It’s going to elevate their lives, give pride to the residents that live there and cause them to feel good about where they live,” she said.
Taft Homes resident Tina Wiegand said she is excited about what’s to come.
“We will now have affordable housing that’s modern, secure, and safe,” she said. “What this change means [is] improved quality of living and pride of where we live.”
Ali said the development benefits not just Taft residents, but the entire city.
“Whenever you uplift an area like Taft Homes, and you make this level of improvement, it improves the overall vibrancy of the entire city,” she said.
Construction of the $50 million project is expected to be done in two phases, with completion by 2023. Taft Homes residents have first dibs on the units.