Freeport has another potential field of residential dreams: the Eastgate Housing Initiative, a mixed residential development involving at least 600 homes. It'll be in east Freeport near Bypass 20, where it's hoped to revamp a sagging city sector.
"You look at a population base that's going down, you look at demand that is only generated by replacement or demolition. I think there's light at the end of the tunnel," real estate analyst Tracy Cross said.
Cross spent eight weeks gathering an unbiased report on the steps needed to make Eastgate happen. Cross's team outlined a plan of 70 homes constructed annually across 10 years, with a combination of duplexes, ranch style and single family homes.
"I have a lot of confidence in his abilities; if we control the project, do the things they propose, I think we have a chance," Freeport City Council member Mike Clark said.
To bring in the needed housing demand from within and outside the city, Cross believes developers must sell below both Freeport and Rockford value. However, even if it takes a tax incentive district to lure developers, some council members feel new residential growth at Eastgate will equal future business growth.
"This is 600 potential new households. I don't think we can turn it around strictly on this project, but certainly if you can get some population growth, you become more attractive to business, to retail.”
It’s a residential plan, which now has a new focus and a new set of recommended guidelines.
Freeport City Council members believe a decision involving a tax incentive district will happen in the next two months regarding the Eastgate development.
The only developer to publicly express their interest in Eastgate tells 23 News they're still very interested after Monday night’s presentation.