Lincolnwood Estates hearing set

Lincolnwood Estates hearing set

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

A public hearing on Comprehensive Community Solutions’ proposed Lincolnwood Estates Redevelopment Area will be held at 5 p.m. July 26 in Rockford City Hall, 425 E. State Street. CCS proposes the new 26-unit subdivision as affordable homes to low and moderate income individuals.

The project will entail the construction of single-family housing. CCS is a nonprofit corporation that operates various programs and activities focusing on education, job training, affordable housing, community service and neighborhood development. Reportedly, YouthBuild will be a participant in the Lincolnwood project. YouthBuild is a program of CCS, which allows 16- to 24-year-old high school dropouts earn GEDs and learn job skills by constructing houses.

The development would be located in the former Valerie Percy housing development at Pierpont Avenue and Green Street on Rockford’s west side.

The 26-unit subdivision would contain single-family housing and be affordable to low- and moderate-income individuals. The existing homes have an appraisal value of about $35,000 to $45,000, and the new homes would range from $70,000 to $72,000.

Examples of qualifying candidates are a family of four that meets the affordable median income requirements of $27,150 a year.

The family can get a second soft mortgage for $14,500. That cost, subtracted from $70,000, is $55,000. That amount would be the mortgage over 30 years. The 7.5 percent interest would cost the buyer $641 a month, plus about $550 for taxes and insurance.

However, the second mortgage is forgivable as long as the buyer maintains the house.

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They don’t make payments on the second mortgage, unless they move out of the house or try to sell it before the forgivable period.

The forgivable mortgages are “to buy down your mortgage or make it affordable,” CCS Development Coordinator Jim Hughes stated. Down payments vary, depending on what people can afford.

The remaining homes will be market rate houses. The total cost of the project is $3.4 million.

The City Council will vote on Lincolnwood Estates after the public hearing. While the council hasn’t approved the project, a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District is currently being created. It must be created so that the council can adopt ordinances creating the district. The council will vote on it probably two weeks later, Economic Development Coordinator Bob Long said.

The district will be only for those who live in Lincolnwood Estates. “The TIF revenues would come from the property taxes that would increase as a result of construction in the TIF District,” Long stated. “The TIF would be created for a total of 23 years. The city’s contribution or participation in this project between TIF and home funds is a total of $938,500.”

The breakdown is $563,500 for TIF funds and $375,000 for Home Funds, which are part of the city’s Community Development Block Grant fund used primarily to establish affordable housing for low- and moderate-income level persons. Home Funds are obtained annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The way the projections work, there will also be $156,000 of home funds that would be made available for eligible home buyers that would not go directly into the project,” he said. “It would be used to assist specific home buyers. That wasn’t included in the project costs.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority also will provide $700,000. National City Bank will loan about $2 million. CCS Executive Director Kerry Knodle said the city is considering borrowing money from National City because it is the same bank

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loaning money to CCS for the project, but official deals haven’t been made.

Knodle said the program will be a positive development. “Put very simply, this is the first major development that’s occurring in that part of Rockford for 40 years,” Knodle said. “It will help to be in the process of redeveloping a very distressed part of Rockford. We are certainly working in concert with other folks developing projects in that area.”

Hughes, development coordinator, agreed. “It does two major things,” he said. He stated the housing will increase property values.

He said existing homeowners will be more likely to obtain a second mortgage for improvements, upgrading the area.

“The other major impact is, of course, that area is in very desperate need for services—everything from drug stores to grocery stores.” Hughes noted Lincolnwood Estates would entice that kind of development.

Mark Philpot, a representative of the area, said he is unaware of anyone opposed to the project.

West side activist Marita Woolsey said she has backed the project. She doesn’t have a problem with the construction of the subdivision. She noted the organization has built decent homes. However, she doesn’t want the organization to use too much government money.

“Projects like this don’t happen without government assistance,” Knodle said. He also stated that the cost for the houses will be $70,000 to $75,000. But Knodle said the total cost of the houses to construct is around $100,0000 to $105,000. “The development cost is more than what they’ll sell it for,” he said.

For more information and how to obtain an application, call Hughes at 963-6236.

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