Housing units in Hillsboro, Witt and Nokomis will be demolished and replaced this summer in a $7.3 million project funded almost entirely with tax credits.
"We work diligently to make Montgomery County housing safe and in good condition," Montgomery County Housing Authority (MCHA) CEO Kelly Moroney said during a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon, June 8, on Bluff Street in Hillsboro where housing units will be demolished and replaced.
The housing units on Bluff Street represent just a little more than a quarter of the 37-unit project at five sites in three communities: 10 units in Hillsboro, 13 units in Nokomis and 14 units in Witt.
According to Mike Niehaus of Windsor Development Group in Springfield, an affordable housing developer and general contractor in the project, demolition will begin in July, the first leases will be signed in the fall and the entire project should be complete by April next year.
Moroney said lease applications will be open to everyone, but first preference will be given to seniors age 62 and over.
"We're thrilled to be part of this project," Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) executive director Audra Hamernik said during the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday. "Thirty percent of seniors in Montgomery County are paying way more than 30 percent of their income for rent."
The ground-breaking ceremony was more of a building-breaking ceremony. Instead of featuring the typical gold shovels where officials turn over a spade of dirt, this one featured gold-headed sledge hammers, and officials took a whack at bricks and mortar on one of the vacant Bluff Street housing buildings scheduled for demolition.
Hamernik pointed out that most of the $7.3 million project comes from the sale of tax credits to corporations who need them. Only $150,000 of the total will be contributed by MCHA through their U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant.
According to information furnished by IHDA, the project will support 56 construction jobs. Niehaus said Windsor will "try to use local trades."
He also thanked Moroney for her diligence in improving housing stock.
"For a lot of housing authority directors, the status quo is good enough," Niehaus said. "Not Kelly. "
Moroney thanked IDHA, the Windsor Development, and the dedication of her staff. Also present at the ceremony were Hillsboro Commissioner Don Downs and Witt city supervisor Shawn Cady.
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