Changes Coming to Brewington Oaks

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Rockford Housing Authority hopes a revamp or even a complete tear down of the Brewington Oaks housing complex near the Morgan Street Bridge would help cut down on crime.

Rosie Simmons has lived in this apartment in the Brewington Oaks tower for almost four years and she says it leaves something to be desired.

"They're too small, for me because like the kitchen area, I like a lot of kitchen space," she said.

Simmons wants the Rockford Housing Authority to do away with the cramped living quarters, making the kitchens and bedrooms bigger, and adding more closets. That wish could become reality.

"They're in disrepair, they're very, very small living units, and I don't think they really serve the clients needs very well," Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer, said.

Right now RHA is deciding whether its cost effective to renovate the building by doubling the size of each unit or to just tear the building down and start from scratch.

"Jane Addams across the street is an example of what we're trying to do with all of our housing stock. So if you look at Jane Addams compared to Brewington, I really don't think Brewington meets our expectations," Clewer said.

Duane Hansen, who's dental office sits in the shadows of Brewington Oaks says the remodel could help the continued revitalization of the neighborhood. He says the Jane Addams complex, Morgan Street Bridge, and roundabout are already helping him bring in new customers.

"It makes them feel a little more comfortable coming to the office and hopefully that will add to our existing business and grow our business," Hansen said.

This project could still be years away. RHA will likely hold community input sessions over the summer to hear from residents. The organization hopes tax credits and grants will cover the costs of the project.

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