Civic News & Info
Houses on the Move: Unique Urban Infill Project Solves Two Problems PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by T. Brecht   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 07:55

The section of Davenport's 6th Street that winds behind the Republic Companies and Harborview buildings just west of Tremont Avenue is peppered with vacant lots, the result of a rash of foreclosures and "demolition-by-neglect" that ravaged the once-thriving neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s.

The future may be brightening for this corner of the city, however, thanks to a unique public-private partnership between Genesis Medical Center and the City of Davenport.

The solution to one neighborhood's problem started with uncertainty a little further to the north. Last winter, Genesis announced a massive $138.5 million building expansion at its East Rusholme campus. But construction of the new six-story building was expected to require the demolition of 8 to 10 older homes along College and Elm streets in the project's footprint.

"Genesis officials came down to our office to talk about what they needed for re-zoning, and we had the idea to ask them about the city-owned lots we had down on 6th Street," said Bruce Berger, Davenport's interim Community Planning & Economic Development Director.

Earlier in the year, the city's planning department sent out a request for proposals for a designer interested in those lots, preferably one with a unique single-family home project in mind. Unfortunately, Berger said, only one developer responded, and they wanted to build multi-family.

Then a bit of inspiration hit.

"One of the planners said, 'what if we move the Genesis houses down to 6th Street?'" recalled Berger.

It's an ambitious plan. Moving entire houses is neither easy nor inexpensive. The city, however, has more than $1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds that need to be allocated by the end of June or lost.

"It's a use-it, or lose-it situation," Berger said. "Our thought is to apply that to the moving, site preparation and rehab cost once we get the houses on 6th Street."

Originally, the idea was to put the transplanted homes on the city-owned lots on the north side of the street. But a moving consultant said the topography was too steep and the approach too narrow. Instead, the city has secured purchase agreements for several lots on the south side, which the City Council is expected to approve Wednesday.

The initial plan is to start with two houses - 2119 College Avenue and 1312 Elm - that Genesis purchased with the intent to demolish. Genesis is donating the homes to the city and also pitching in on moving expenses.

Work is expected to begin in June,  after the city secures an expert moving firm.

Ken Croken, Vice President for Corporate Communications & Business Development for Genesis, said he's excited to see the homes spared the wrecking ball and used to reinvigorate another neighborhood.

"These homes have housed many generations of Davenport residents," he said. "We are delighted that this project will help see them offer shelter and house even more generations of Davenporters as we move forward with our plans to better serve the community."

3rd Ward Alderman Bill Boom lauded the project for its environmental responsibility, noting that millions of pounds of construction waste would have gone to area landfills. Transplanting the homes - several of which date back to the first half of the 20th Century - will not only re-use existing home stock, but will help retain some of the character and craftsmanship of a traditional neighborhood. Boom hopes this inspires a "green-thinking" developer to take a closer look at the lots on the north side of 6th Street and design an eco-friendly, owner-occupied project.

Berger said the long-term goal is to see the neighborhood bounce back and be a prime target for re-development. The pieces are in place, he said, noting that the Scott County Family Y is planning a large new development on the WG Block property to the west and the popularity and number of apartments in the nearby Warehouse District continues to grow.

"We think this area will appeal to a wide variety of people," Berger said. "Whether that is first-time home buyers, empty nesters looking to downsize or young professionals who want to be near downtown but want to own their own home."

 
Governor Quinn Announces $84,000 in Community Stabilization Grants for Quad Cities Area PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Friday, 02 May 2014 14:21

New $7.2 Million Program Helps Local Governments Across Illinois Secure Abandoned Properties and Strengthen Communities

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $7.2 million investment that will allow communities across Illinois to clear blight and stabilize neighborhoods. The investment includes $84,000 for Rock Island and Whiteside County communities. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to stabilize neighborhoods and return vacant properties to productive use to advance the economy.

“We are starting programs to reinvigorate our economy and strengthen communities in the wake of the national foreclosure crisis,” Governor Quinn said. “This support will give local governments the tools they need to stabilize communities throughout Illinois.”

The investments for today’s announcement come from the new Abandoned Property Program, which is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and funded through filing fees paid by financial institutions. The program was created by legislation Governor Quinn signed into law last year. This builds on the Governor’s March 27 announcement that the U.S. Department of the Treasury will support IHDA efforts to leverage up to $30 million of its federal Hardest Hit Fund resources to eliminate blight in communities around the state.

A total of 53 municipalities, counties and land banks have been approved for the first round of funding based on need, capacity, impact, budget, cost reasonableness and readiness to proceed. Eligible uses for the grants include maintaining weeds and grass, trimming trees and bushes, installing fences to protect the public, and repairing or demolishing abandoned property.

The Quad Cities area communities receiving Abandoned Property Program funds include:

 

·         Moline, $58,909

·         Rock Falls, $26,774

Effective in June 2013, banks and other lending institutions began funding the new program by paying fees on a sliding scale based on how many foreclosures they file each year. For example, an institution that files more than 175 foreclosures must pay $500 per foreclosure, while one with between 50 and 175 must pay $250 per foreclosure, and those with less than 50 foreclosures a year must pay $50 per filing.

“Under Governor Quinn, the state has leveraged every available resource to enable more than one million families to access assistance to stay in their homes and help hard-hit communities thrive again,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said.

“I’m focused on promoting strong development in the Quad Cities region to make sure we are bringing businesses and jobs to the region, and these grants will help in that regard,” State Representative Pat Verschoore (D-Milan) said. “By revitalizing neighborhoods and removing abandoned and vacant homes, we can re-energize neighborhoods and encourage new growth.”

 

“These projects will bring much needed investment to areas that have experienced too little of Illinois’ economic recovery,” State Representative Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) said. “This investment will improve our community’s ability to reclaim areas of blight and underutilization following the wave of foreclosures in recent years.”

Since he took office in 2009, Governor Quinn has:

·         Successfully implemented the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program in Illinois – creating four programs with $445 million in federal foreclosure prevention resources. The latest – the Blight Reduction Program – will help communities eliminate blight starting this summer.

·         Launched the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN), a one-stop comprehensive, free resource to connect struggling homeowners with a safe and trusted source for assistance to keep them in their homes and help them from being victims of mortgage fraud. More than 1 million families have accessed this free assistance through the IFPN. Homeowners seeking assistance should visit the IFPN website at www.keepyourhomeillinois.org or call the hotline at 855-KEEP-411.

·         Created Illinois Building Blocks program – Available in 15 Illinois communities, buyers of vacant homes can access $10,000 in cash assistance to purchase a home. The program also provides funds for the re-development of vacant homes. To date, approximately 800 vacant homes have been purchased through this program.

·         Launched the Illinois Homebuyer Rehabilitation Assistance Program - $6.6 million to 16 public and not-for-profit organizations to allow 240 low- to moderate-income homebuyers of vacant homes to apply for rehabilitation grants in seven targeted communities.

·         Administered the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to purchase and rehabilitate 240 rental units and 106 foreclosed and abandoned homes that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight. An additional 29 blighted properties have been demolished.

·         Launched Welcome Home Illinois, a loan program for first-time homebuyers that provides $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.75 percent for a secure, 30-year fixed rate mortgage. As the spring buying cycle hits its stride, Welcome Home Illinois is generating interest rapidly because the program is tailored to working families with borrower income limits up to 140 percent of the area median income (AMI). For example, a family of three in Marion or Collinsville could qualify earning up to $82,915 in annual household income.

For more information on the programs above, visit www.ihda.org.

IHDA (www.ihda.org) is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and the preservation of affordable housing across Illinois. Since its creation in 1967, IHDA has allocated $12.4 billion and financed approximately 240,000 affordable units across the state.

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Tentative Agenda for the Scott County Board of Supervisors PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Renee Luze-Johnson   
Friday, 02 May 2014 14:12
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Committee of the Whole - 8:00 am
Board Room, 1st Floor, Administrative Center
1. Roll Call: Cusack, Earnhardt, Hancock, Minard, Sunderbruch
Presentation
2. Discussion about changes in the judicial branch- Judge Marlita Greve and Kathy Gaylord, District Court Administrator. 8:00 a.m.
Human Resources
3. Classification and staffing adjustments through restructuring of the Sheriff's Office.
4. Staff appointments.
Finance & Intergovernmental
5. Recorder's purchase of a ScanPro 3000 Microform Scanning System from MidAmerica Business Systems.
6. Discussion of budget amendment to the FY14 County Budget.
7. Purchase of ammunition from Ultramax in the amount of $15,941.00.
8. Cigarette/tobacco permit for Locust Mart.
Other Items of Interest
9. Consideration of appointment with upcoming term expiration for boards and commissions
     o Benefited Fire District #5, Joe Ragona 7/19/14
10. Board appointments.
11. Authorized Agency visit to Waste Commission - Scott Area Recycling Center, 5640 Carey Avenue, Dav.
12. Adjourned.
Moved by _____ Seconded by _____
Ayes
Nays
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Regular Board Meeting - 5:00 pm
Board Room, 1st Floor, Administrative Center
Public Hearing
1. Public hearing relative to an amendment to the County's current
FY14 budget....5:00 p.m.

 
Lt. Governor Simon to honor police officers in Springfield, thank petitioners in Chicago PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Ted Nelson   
Thursday, 01 May 2014 08:02

SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Thursday will honor and remember Illinois police officers who have lost their lives on duty.

 

Simon will join elected officials, police officers and the public to remember Trooper James Sauter of the Illinois State Police from Downers Grove, Officer Casey Kohlmeier of the Pontiac Police Department and Investigator Cuauhtemoc Estrada of the  Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department at the Police Officers Memorial in Springfield.

Earlier in the day, Simon will thank volunteers for the Yes for Independent Maps campaign as they load petitions into a semi-truck to drive them to Springfield to be filed. The campaign aims to put an amendment on the November 2014 ballot to improve the redistricting process. Simon signed the petition earlier this year.

 

EVENT: Yes for Independent Maps Breakfast

DATE: Thursday, May 1

TIME: 7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.

LOCATION: 300 N. Elizabeth St., Ste. 220B, Chicago

 

EVENT: Police Officers Memorial

DATE: Thursday, May 1

TIME: 11 a.m.

LOCATION: East steps of the Capitol, Springfield

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Rock Island Among Most Exciting Places to Live in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Chad Stiffney   
Monday, 28 April 2014 15:30

from Chad at Movoto, the real estate research site.

Today we released a ranking of the most exciting cities in Illinois. We looked at places with a population of at least 10,000 and then ranked them based on nightlife, music venues, restaurants, age of residents, etc. Rock Island came in as the 3rd most exciting place in Illinois: http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/most-exciting-places-in-illinois/

 
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