Mixed-income housing planned for vacant Danville lots

Mixed-income housing planned for vacant Danville lots

DANVILLE — Danville housing officials are hoping to build new mixed-income units on vacant city-owned lots using private funding through state tax credits.

The construction of new single-story units and townhouses on various available lots in the city has been in the discussion and planning stages for more than a year, according to Danville Housing Authority officials.

Jaclyn Vinson, executive director of the housing authority, said the 70 units and $15 million project would be funded through private dollars committed by investors for the benefit of tax credits made possible through Illinois Housing Development Authority programming.

Vinson said the application process for the state's IHDA tax credit program is currently under way, with a deadline of May.

She said the units would serve renters who qualify as low-income as well as people with no income limitations.

Although this project is originating with the housing authority, Vinson said, the units would not be U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development properties.

Rather, an independent nonprofit organization with its own board would control them and be able to set its own rules and regulations for the units.

Vinson said this would not be "Fair Oaks 2.0," referring to the city's current public housing complex.

Plans are already set in motion to demolish two public housing buildings at Fair Oaks later this year, and the majority of the residents living in those units have chosen to accept vouchers that allow them to move to HUD housing anywhere outside the community.

"This will not be HUD housing. There's no oversight from HUD," Vinson said. By adding a nonprofit board that would do everything from deciding who is eligible to rent to what goes into a tenant background check, she said, "It gives us much greater flexibility to manage a program for the good of our community."

Although this project would entail new construction on separate units at various vacant sites in the city, Vinson said it's the same type of project as the renovation of the New Holland apartment building in downtown Danville that Crosspoint Human Services completed more than a decade ago.

That $6 million project at 324 N. Vermilion St. renovated the ornate five-story, red-bricked, 73,000-square-foot apartment building — placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 — into 45 affordable housing units for low-income people, including Crosspoint clients, who receive treatment for mental illness or emotional stress or are developmentally disabled.

Vinson said there's demand in Danville for a certain kind of housing.

"What Danville has is a lack of quality affordable housing," she said, emphasizing quality affordable housing that's well-run.

She said first-year Danville school teachers are a good example of the potential tenants for the percentage of the units that would have no income limits.

Vinson is scheduled to speak about the project at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the Danville Public Library, 319 N. Vermilion St.

The meeting is spearheaded by rental property owners in the city, including Jerry Hawker, a landlord and candidate for city alderman in Ward 2.

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