PEORIA, Ill. — Taft Homes will be renovated following a solidified agreement between a Wisconsin-based developer and the Peoria Housing Authority.
“It [has] been going on for the past 10 years so we are just here to pick up the torch and take it to the finish lines,” PHA CEO Jackie Newman said.
Some people say home is where the heart is and that’s what Taft Homes is for many.
“I been living here since I was 10 years old and I’m 64 now so that’s been some years,” Taft Homes resident Debber Irby said.
Neighbors say they like it there, but there’s room for improvement.
“I like the house itself. I’ve always dreamed of a townhome, so the house itself is spacious for me and my family, but the environment is just okay. I think the environment could be better,” Taft Homes resident Tenika Green said.
The complex redevelopment project could cost between 17 and 20 million dollars, but Newman said it’s necessary.
“…The units are outdated and we’re interested in re-developing so that our families can live in quality affordable housing,” Newman said.
“It looks like this needs the most help because based on other areas, they look more put together,” Green said. “These things look very old…It looks like it’s deserving, but deserving to the right people, people who appreciate it and [don’t] vandalize the property.”
Although the homes are set for renovation, groundbreaking won’t happen right away.
“It can be anywhere from 24–36 months before we even put a shovel in the ground,” Newman said.
Neighbors worry that once the shovel goes in the ground they won’t be able to come back to the place they call home.
“I appreciate them trying and stuff, but do we have to really move out because you move out and you might not come back,” Irby said.
Newman said those who live in Taft Homes currently have first rights to the complex after it’s finished.
Right now 16 people are being relocated to other properties owned by the Peoria Housing Authority. A few of them have been elected to receive a voucher to find housing elsewhere.
Other residents will not need to relocate at this time.