Danville looking to lease property for park renovation

Danville looking to lease property for park renovation

DANVILLE – The city is now seeking to lease property from the Danville Housing Authority as part of plans to renovate Carver Park.

The housing authority will be discussing the issue in a closed session this afternoon, but no action will be taken, said Executive Director Greg Hilleary.

Last year, city officials applied for a state grant to renovate the 9-acre park.

They have yet to hear a response on the grant, which would pay for half of the $750,000 needed for the improvements.

If the city can successfully lease adjacent property from the housing authority, the park would expand to 28 acres.

According to a letter from the city to the housing authority, the city wants to sign a 25- or 50-year lease for the property.

Hilleary said that there are federal processes in place for leases extending beyond a year.

The city could also pursue other options such as buying the property or exchanging land with the housing authority, Hilleary said.

He said he is still investigating the options.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the city is interested only in leasing the property.

The housing authority board will also discuss a proposal by East Central Illinois Community Action Agency to contract with an outside party to conduct a study on the needs and impacts of housing assistance in Danville.

In a letter to the housing authority, Dwight Lucas, chief executive officer of the community agency, wrote that recent news of Eisenhauer's intention to reduce public housing assistance "are of great interest to the residents of Danville as well as local human service agencies."

The agency "believes that Danville residents and agencies must be informed of how these housing programs objectively impact our city," Lucas wrote.

Eisenhauer said he is researching the impacts now as a step to amend the city's consolidated plan to reflect the city's goal of reducing public housing.

He said he would be willing to look at any study anyone gives him.

Fred Whitman, an associate director with the agency, said the agency plans to share the results with both the mayor's office and Danville Housing Authority.

"We'll look at it together," Whitman said.

The Danville Housing Authority Board will meet at 4 p.m. today at Mer Che Manor, 723 N. Oak St.

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