JOLIET – Most of the residents at Des Plaines Garden Homes in Joliet have moved out and redevelopment of the project is on track, according to housing officials.
“There are only 16 families left,” Eric Hanson, the attorney for the Housing Authority of Joliet, told the city’s Plan Commission last week.
The commission approved a planned unit development for the Water’s Edge subdivision, which will replace Des Plaines Garden. The plan goes next to the City Council for final approval.
The commission also heard possible plans for riverfront park development and additional subsidized housing in the neighborhood.
Water’s Edge will be a 68-unit development with single-family, duplex and triplex homes.
Des Plaines Garden is a 122-apartment complex built in the 1950s.
The timetable, Hanson said, is to demolish Des Plaines Garden in April, begin construction on Water’s Edge in May, and have the new project completed in 18 months. Some families could move in to Water’s Edge in early 2017, he said.
HAJ officials faced some questions from commissioner Fredrick Moore, who wanted to know what kind of recreation would be provided at Water’s Edge.
There is no park planned for the project, although one could be added on property along the Des Plaines River, Hanson said. HAJ leases the property from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
“It is designated for recreation, and there are some preliminary plans for recreation,” Hanson told the commission.
Moore also asked whether any effort is being made to redevelop vacant houses along Des Plaines Street across from the housing complex.
James Haller, the city’s director of community and economic development, said the city has been buying houses on the street as they become available through tax sales.
“We are keeping the properties in our inventory,” Haller said. “The expectation is that the city will come in with a project where we’ll be developing single-family homes.”
Joliet has used federal housing funds in the past to renovate single-family homes and even build small subdivisions to make affordable housing available in low-income neighborhoods.
Des Plaines Garden residents received Section 8 vouchers that could be used to move anywhere in the United States where they are accepted. They also will be first on the list to move into the Water’s Edge homes if they want.
Residents at the housing complex began moving in November.