HOPE VI begins demo of Champion Park

A significant milestone for the HOPE VI program has begun with the demolition of Champion Park apartments, a distressed public housing project that launched WCHA’s HOPE VI revitalization program. Built in 1967 and vacant since 2005, the project once housed 75 family apartments. With the HOPE VI program partnered with Star Development LLC, Champion Park now lies in contrast across from the dramatic development of more than 100 homeownership and assisted rental homes throughout the Washington Park neighborhood, which also features such infrastructures as roads, curbing and drainage.

“When the first brick was laid in 1967, little did we know 40 years later, that same brick would be removed to make way for a new era in assisted housing. I am proud of the accomplishments made by the Winnebago County Housing Authority and our partners that have teamed together to make this happen,” said Fred Wescott, Winnebago County Housing Authority chairman.

The HOPE VI program has grown into community partnership with resources from Winnebago County, the City of Rockford, the Rockford Park District, Rock River Training, Rockford Housing Authority and AMCORE Bank, to name but a few. The Community and Support Services program component is now based out of the Rockford Park District’s Washington Park Community Center new addition, assisting with communitywide services for self-sufficiency, education and employment. According to Tim Dimke, executive director of the Rockford Park District, “Quality of life is vital in every corner of our community. People must have a decent place to live, and children need to have safe places to play. We are pleased with the progress taking place surrounding the Washington Park Community Recreation Center and the exciting neighborhood redevelopment coordinated by the Winnebago County Housing Authority. This collaborative effort is truly making this area a great place to live, work and play.”

“I want to commend Alan Zais, executive director of the Winnebago County Housing Authority and Fred Wescott, chairman of the Housing Authority Board and his fellow board members for moving forward with the demolition of Champion Park. This will certainly have a significant impact on the quality of life in our community,” said Christiansen.

Approximately 1 to 1.5 buildings will be demolished per day during the next three weeks, and the new area is expected to serve in part as expansion of the Washington Park.

For questions, contact Winnebago County Housing Authority Executive Director Alan Zais, (815) 963-2133, ext. 11.

from the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2007, issue

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