ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Six years after devastating floods damaged much of the Keith Creek neighborhood, the City of Rockford is finally finishing up its demolition project.
Cheryce Mercaitis doesn’t mind the noise near her home in Keith Creek Neighborhood. In fact, she says it’s a relief to see many of her former neighbors’ homes torn down along 6th and 7th Avenues.
“Especially getting rid of all the houses that were there, because that poses a big , a big thing too for kids that would play in it and people that are using drugs going in the abandoned houses,” Mercaitis said. The homes became abandoned six years ago after being damaged in two massive floods. The city of Rockford has bought more than one hundred of them so they can be knocked down.
It’s part of an $11 million dollar project funded by the state, that expands the creek and prevents future flooding. “We’ve got an obligation to get those families out of the flood plain, they have a chance to move on and make a new life somewhere,” said Public Works Director Tim Hanson.
They also plan to build a park on the remaining land, with multiple walking paths. That’s something of which Mercaitis plans to take full advantage.
Construction on the new park will begin once all of the remaining houses on the Creek are demolished. That’s expected to wrap up next month.