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Taft Redevelopment Project Hitting Goalposts

Peoria Housing Authority
Tim Shelley / WCBU
Peoria Housing Authority

Work on the Taft Homes redevelopment project is proceeding according to schedule. 

The Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development considers phase one of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) redevelopment project complete, and is set to sign off on phase two's completion in the next few weeks. Those include various scattered site housing projects in the city's East Bluff neighborhood. 

That will open the door to phase 3 - actual redevelopment of the Korean War-era public housing stock in Peoria's North Valley neighborhood.

Peoria Housing Authority executive director Jackie Newman says that's contingent on the Illinois Housing Development Authority approving a 9 percent tax credit in June. 

The new Taft Homes will have 142 units. That would provide equivalent housing for current Taft residents. Dozens of units currently vacated won't be replaced. Current residents will have the right to return to the new housing.

The Peoria Housing Authority is coordinating with privately-owned Bear Development on the RAD project. It would convert the existing public housing to Section 8 housing. 

Newman said Taft Homes residents are largely positive about redevelopment prospects. She said the kids are asking for green space, slides, and front yards to play in.

"It's things like that that really tug at your heart, and I don't ever want us to forget as developers, or as housing authorities, I don't ever want us to forget about families," she said. "It's the families who matter, and the families are why we're here." 

Those green spaces and other amenties like a community center will be contingent on the amount of financing the PHA and 

The PHA hopes to have the financing lined up by the end of this year. If that happens, groundbreaking would begin in 2021.

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.