JOLIET – The 68-unit Water’s Edge development reported that it is fully occupied. The Housing Authority of Joliet celebrated the milestone with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.
Water’s Edge is a mixed-income development of mostly town homes with small yards and garages. It has replaced Des Plaines Garden Homes, which was the city’s first public housing project and was demolished last year.
“This is no longer public housing,” said Michael Simelton, chief executive officer of HAJ. “This is affordable housing. This is what affordable housing looks like.”
The community also is less crowded than Des Plaines Garden Homes, which contained 122 apartments.
Residents in Water’s Edge have incomes ranging from 30 percent to 60 percent of Area Median Income, Simelton said. Residents in Des Plaines Garden Homes were
30 percent or lower.
The residents receive federal subsidies based on income to help pay for rents that range from $1,000 to $1,400. What they pay in rent goes into a fund that they can use as a down payment to buying the homes after 15 years.
“This is moving them toward self-sufficiency and home ownership,” Simelton said.
Des Plaines Garden residents received Section 8 vouchers to subsidize rents at new homes when the complex was demolished. They also had first rights to move into Water’s Edge, Simelton said.
16 resident did choose to come back.
The last open unit at Water’s Edge was occupied earlier in October.
The $21 million development also has brightened up the neighborhood south of downtown. Water’s Edge is at the corner of Route 6 and Des Plaines Street, one of the older sections of Joliet.
“I think they did a beautiful job here,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said. “It’s great for the neighborhood.”
“When you come down here now, it’s a true suburban subdivision,” said HAJ Commissioner Kathy Spieler.
Water’s Edge is the second mixed-income development done by HAJ, which now has about 200 single-family homes, town homes and other units. The other development is Liberty Meadow Estates, which was built at the site of the former Poole Garden Homes public housing project.
The Herald-News takes a closer look at Water’s Edge with some of the new residents who have moved in.