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Local News

Housing Authority of Joliet prepares for Des Plaines Garden demolition

Des Plaines Garden Homes is the oldest public housing complex run by the Housing Authority of Joliet. The Authority's board has scheduled a special meeting for June 2 to pick a contractor to demolish the complex; the site will be converted to a lower-density development to be called Water's Edge.
Des Plaines Garden Homes is the oldest public housing complex run by the Housing Authority of Joliet. The Authority's board has scheduled a special meeting for June 2 to pick a contractor to demolish the complex; the site will be converted to a lower-density development to be called Water's Edge.

JOLIET – The Housing Authority of Joliet board has scheduled a special meeting for June 2 to pick a contractor to demolish Des Plaines Garden Homes.

Demolition of the housing project at Des Plaines and McDonough streets is the next step in the conversion of the site to a lower-density development to be called Water’s Edge. The site is near the Des Plaines River.

The HAJ board met Wednesday and was slated to vote on a contract with Carlson Brothers Inc. for the demolition.

But HAJ CEO Michael Simelton said staff decided to rebid the project because of discrepancies in the bid documents. He said five companies responded to the initial bid offering.

Companies that bid are rated, and the price for the contract is negotiated after bids are submitted, he said.

Des Plaines Garden Homes will be taken down soon after the June 2 approval of a demolition company, Simelton said. Construction of Water’s Edge likely will start by mid-July, with the first units opening about 18 months later, he said.

Des Plaines Garden Homes is empty. Residents began moving out in November.

The 1950s-era complex with 122 apartments was the first family housing project built by HAJ. It is the second to be torn down. HAJ demolished Poole Garden Homes in 2007 and replaced it with Liberty Meadow Estates, a mixed-income subdivision.

Water’s Edge also is designed to be a mixed-income development. The subdivision will be a 68-unit development with single-family, duplex and triplex homes.

Des Plaines Garden residents received federal Section 8 vouchers to live anywhere in the U.S. where the vouchers are accepted.

The residents, however, also will have first claim on any units at Water’s Edge when it opens.

“If we can’t fill them all, then there would be open opportunities for people to apply,” Simelton said.

Openings are likely. No one moved back from Poole Garden when Liberty Meadow Estates opened. But some former Des Plaines Garden residents are considering moving back when Water’s Edge opens, Simelton said.

“There were maybe a half-dozen that showed an interest in coming back,” Simelton said.

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TIMELINE

• June 2: Special meeting to approve demolition company for Des Plaines Garden Homes.

• June: Demolition takes place.

• July: Construction begins on Water’s Edge.

• Early 2018: First Water’s Edge units open.

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