Housing & Elected Officials Seek Input and Encourage Residents to Get Involved in Revitalization Effort
(Chicago Heights, IL) – Yesterday, representatives from the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the City of Chicago Heights, held its first community meeting since receiving the Choice Neighborhoods Grant (HUD) aimed at revitalizing and redeveloping the Chicago Heights area.
HUD recently awarded six cities with the grant to help create plans to develop distressed communities through improvements in affordable housing infrastructure, education/youth initiatives, job training, transportation, and employment opportunities.
“The Choice Neighborhoods Grant promises to begin the process of transforming the area into one that provides opportunity for all residents. We want the families and community partners in Chicago Heights to know that we value their input every step of the way and we look forward to working with them,” said HACC Executive Director Richard Monocchio.
“Receiving the Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant represents the culmination of our collaboration with HACC to shape the future of Chicago Heights,” said Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez. “Community meetings like the one taking place today are critical to ensuring that the revitalization effort benefits everyone in the community, not just a select few,” he continued.
Other agencies and organizations include the Cook County Department of Planning and Development, Elementary School District 170 and Prairie State College. A broad range of local service organizations and businesses have also expressed a strong commitment to the revitalization effort.
Over 50 community residents attended the planning meeting at the Lincoln-Gavin Elementary School located in Chicago Heights. Community residents participated in several break-out sessions designed to foster a discussion about how the funds should be used. These sessions focused on both the micro and macro-decisions involved in the planning process, from helping pick a logo to brainstorming ideas surrounding economic development. Sessions pertaining to social movements and “quality-of-life” ideas were also included.
“I am excited to be a part of this new beginning for Chicago Heights,” said Rev. Dr. A. William Staten Sr., pastor of the Calvary Missionary Baptist Church located in Chicago Heights. “I’m from Rockford [a previous recipient of the grant], and I saw the good it did there. I’m hopeful it can do the same here.”
Additional meetings are planned over the course of the next 1-2 years. The input will be collected by Camiros, Ltd., the urban planning firm involved in the project, to develop a blueprint for the master development plan. Implementation of the plan is projected to begin in 2020.
For more information about the Housing Authority of Cook County, please visit us at www.thehacc.org;www.facebook.com/theHACC or www.twitter.com/theHACCtweets.