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Local News

Joliet council meets Monday on Des Plaines Garden project

JOLIET – Councilman Terry Morris has called a special City Council meeting for Monday morning to resolve how many homes can be built in the Des Plaines Garden redevelopment project.

The issue has to be settled by Monday in order to apply for funding for the project.

The Housing Authority of Joliet originally planned to replace 122 low-income homes at the site, located at Des Plaines and McDonough streets, with 76 mixed-income townhomes and duplexes. That number later was adjusted to 69 units.

Another seven units were removed from the project when the city determined there was no room for stormwater detention on the property, Morris said.

Concerns also arose over population density for the project. City staff initially recommended the site contain no more than 48 single-family homes in order to stay within Joliet density guidelines, Morris said. That number later was adjusted to 52 units with the addition of several duplex units.

Morris said he’d like to see the city allow more housing units in the redevelopment, something closer to the 69 originally envisioned in the project.

“I’d like to see the maximum number of units available so people who have roots there have a chance to move back if they want,” Morris said. “As long as they meet all the requirements, I don’t want to see it cut back any more than it has to be.”

Complicating the issue is the fact that Monday also is the day that HAJ needs to submit its project application to the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

Missing the deadline could push the project back by as much as a year, Morris said.

“I want to see this straightened out so they can move forward,” Morris said.

Morris said the city and HAJ have been searching for a solution over the past weekend.

Residents displaced by the demolition would receive housing vouchers, and be given first option of moving back into the redeveloped facility.

Housing units not replaced at Des Plaines Gardens eventually could be transferred to HAJ’s Liberty Meadows facility, where the authority has land available for additional construction.

Money to demolish the complex and build new privatized housing would come from IHDA through private investors. Rent subsidies for the new homes would come through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program.

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