UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- An old name in the Rockford Housing Authority has resurfaced with a new look.
Today was the official grand opening for the new Jane Addams housing complex on Seminary Street. You may remember it was torn down five years ago after the city determined it was unsafe for a number of reasons. The area has been completely restored with just 38 units designed to look like homes in the neighborhood.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Drugs used to plague the old Jane Addams Housing Development. It was recently rebuilt after being torn down five years ago. This area was recently named the nation’s 14th most dangerous neighborhood, but the way the complex is designed will hopefully help restore pride to a once blighted part of town.
For the first time in years, Elizabeth Jones now has enough wall space to hang framed memories.
“They used to be in storage but now I have use for them,” said Jones.
However, it’s not how she pictured life months ago.
“I owned a habitat house for 12 years but could no longer afford to stay there because I couldn’t work so I had to sell it a few years ago so it was a great loss.”
A great loss, that’s turned into a sign of hope for this Rockford mother, battling an illness on top of financial hardship. She now lives in the new Jane Addams Housing Complex on Seminary and College.
“The day I saw the apartment and the foyer, it was home and I started crying, I knew right away I was meant to be here.”
It’s a much different environment than what stood here in 2008, where 180 low-income families lived side-by-side creating a form of concentrated poverty.
The new $9 million dollar complex has just 38 units and looks like homes in the neighborhood. It even has a gym, library, computer lab, and community room, complete with flat screen TV’s.
Elouise McGowan says she’s never used a dishwasher, but it’s one of the amenities she’s learning to love as the former Jane Addams complex not only revamps its image, but also its reputation.
Rockford alderwoman Venita Hervey was against this project from the beginning saying the RHA is continuing to add concentrated poverty to an area saturated with low-income families. She says the land should have been left as green space. Despite her opposition, she says she will be attending next week’s grand opening.
The Rockford Housing Authority is holding an open house at the complex on May 9th from 1-3 p.m.
It’s free for everyone to attend.