By Bob Balgemann

Reporter

The new year only is a few weeks old, but the village of Machesney Park has a whole host of items on its “to do list.”

Most of them are being carried over from 2017, when the village enjoyed a productive year on a number of progressive fronts. There’s the program to abate substandard housing and continuation of the longstanding Build Machesney road improvents program.

Among those making an appearance late in 2017 were Destination Machesney, a program promoting local retailers and businesses, along with a solar energy project being proposed for the intersection of Perryville and Vaughndale roads.

And don’t forget a spinoff from Mayor Steve Johnson’s multi-faceted PARTS program, which will result in the opening of a safe/strong house somewhere in town, hopefully in March. That’s a place where residents can meet with sheriff’s deputies on neutral ground.

The initiative to abate housing blight was launched in November 2016 by then-Mayor Jerry D. Bolin. It has been embraced by the current mayor, Steve Johnson, and is moving forward.

A boost for the program was received through an $80,000 grant received from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) Abandoned Residential P:roperty Municipality Relief Program, also known as APP. That was used to demolish abandoned homes at the following locations:

7607 Cadet Road, 12 Wilshire Blvd., 24 Marquette Road, 9822 Queen Oaks Drive, 234 Winona Drive and 848 Colonial Drive.

After the demolition work, those properties last fall, those properties were graded and restored with grass seed.

A second component is the Building Better Neighorhood Rehabilitation Program.

Earlier in 2017, the village received a grant, also from the IHDA, for single-family home rehabilitation. There was enough money to rehab up to eight homes in the village. Applications from those interested in participating were submitted and on June 28, there was a lottery to determine an order for processing those applications.

In the following months the applications were reviewed to determine eligibility. Inspections of the homes followed, to determine the types of improvements that would be necessary. The village anticipates work on the homes will begin in 2018, with completion in 2019.

To read the full story see the Jan. 18 edition of the Journal.