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West Side Alive/Park Place Program

The City of Rockford has been administering the West Side Alive Program since 1992, offering single-family homes to lower-income families at monthly payments of approximately $430, including taxes and insurance. These homes, each with three bedrooms, provide approximately 1,200 square-feet of living space. Since the Program's inception, 47 properties have been constructed and sold.

When West Side Alive first began, the City made every attempt to cluster its properties. While HUD has discouraged cities from clustering subsidized housing developments to prevent problems of crime and blight associated with such developments, Rockford officials believed a subdivision in which the residents were owners, not renters, would be different, and that homeownership would have a stabilizing effect on a neighborhood. In 1997, the City was able to acquire enough land to begin its first "community" development - the construction of 18 homes on two inner city blocks. West Side Alive's Park Place is the first subdivision to be built through the City's redevelopment program.

For Park Place, the City tore down 12 existing properties, many of which had drug activity, paying property owners between $3,000 and $4,000 to demolish each of them. The total cost of the 18-home project is estimated to be $1.3 million. First-time home buyers are offered an opportunity to purchase a home valued at $75,000 for $46,000. To qualify, residents must have good credit, income at or below 80 percent of Rockford's median, and $1,000 for the down payment. The home buyer takes out a $22,500 loan through a bank and another $22,500 (no-interest) loan through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and the City uses CDBG funds to provide the balance of the funds needed. The home buyer must remain in the house for five years.

Contact: Barbara Richardson, Director, Community Development Department, (815) 987-5699.

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