The revitalization initiatives created by the RIHA Asset Management Plan have created an infrastructure for families that encourage housing success and supports neighborhood economic development. An adequate supply of affordable housing will have a positive effect on business investment and growth within the City and could become a deterrent to the out-migration of Rock Island residents. Creating stable neighborhoods, increasing the tax base and developing neighborhoods based on transition and hope impact on the quality of life for the entire community and are important ingredients in reducing poverty, eliminating dependence upon welfare and improving the futures of low-income families. Neighborhood revitalization is based upon the notion that cities can – and should – be renewed for the sake of their residents. RIHA is committed to pursuing new and creative ways to meet the changing housing needs of the diverse population living within the City.
Neighborhood revitalization is more than building housing in a community – it’s about rebuilding lives.
RIHA positively impacts individuals, families, and neighborhoods and provides access to healthier living conditions for more families than ever before.
Since 2000, RIHA has been committed to meeting the changing housing needs of the diverse population of the City of Rock Island. In 2003, RIHA began the process required to remove obsolete public housing from the City's landscape with the development of its Asset Management Plan. Since then, RIHA and its non-profit affiliate, Community Housing Services (CHS), have removed 167 units of obsolete public housing and invested a combined total of $46 million in new construction and development within the City.
RIHA and CHS development efforts contribute to the City's revitalization efforts by creating healthy vibrant communities. New development has a positive impact in neighborhoods that are turning around and becoming revitalized, healthier places for people to live. It promotes safe housing environments for all residents regardless of income by sharing the theme of upward mobility and providing opportunities for overcoming barriers to education and employment. RIHA and CHS are playing an active role in creating more dynamically diverse communities within the City focused on equal opportunity and growth for all residents.
As part of the 2003 Asset Management Plan, RIHA and its partners built seven new affordable, for-sale in-fill homes in four neighborhoods within the City of Rock Island. In-fill housing fills vacant lots and contributes to the revitalization of the communities in which they are built by positively impacting the people living there. It creates a sense of pride and of place for the entire community. It adds new investment and allows neighborhoods to restore hope and equal opportunities making a positive difference in neighborhoods that are turning around and becoming better, healthier places for people to live. As a result, current and future residents have more choices and more control over where they live and public housing residents and Housing Choice Voucher participants have the opportunity to become economically self-sufficient, contributing members of their communities.
In 1999, RIHA purchased the Voss Brothers Warehouse and the now demolished Post Office Annex on the edge of the downtown Rock Island district. The 60,000 square foot building located at 227-21st Street is comprised of the original four-story section built in 1924 and a three-story section added in 1947.
The original intent for a large portion of the warehouse was the development of a “One-Stop” designed to house multiple community support services agencies. At that time, the employees of the agencies the project was intended to house rejected the proposal sighting the neighborhood as “unsafe and undesirable.” As a result, the project was aborted and RIHA began to consider alternative uses for the property.
In 2002, the City of Rock Island identified the corridor in which the warehouse is located as a priority redevelopment area. Buildings surrounding the warehouse at that time included RIHA’s Spencer Towers, Modern Woodmen of America, and the Girl Scouts of the Mississippi Valley, Inc. Projects that were completed near the warehouse between 2002 and 2005 include the Third Avenue Reconstruction by the City, the Robert Young Outpatient Treatment Center, Illinois Casualty Company corporate offices, a new Christian Family Care Center, the Hungry Hobo commissary, a new restaurant, a video production studio, and a coffee shop.
Phase I of the warehouse redevelopment includes approximately 3,000 square feet of street level retail space and 6,000 square feet which have housed the RIHA administrative offices since July 2003. The RIHA offices were considered the first step in the implementation of the RIHA Asset Management Plan.
Phase II of the Voss Brothers Warehouse redevelopment project added 35 mixed-income apartments to the downtown housing mix and complimented the $15 million in investments along Third Avenue. The loft style apartments are comprised of 2 studios, 11 one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom and 7 three-bedroom units. Common areas include a community room, an exercise room, a computer room, tenant storage and 60 parking spaces. The $5.5 million project also encompassed an elevator tower to accommodate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landscaping, outdoor lighting, and other amenities. One of the significant design aspects of the project included an atrium with skylights constructed in the center of the building. The atrium provides natural lighting and a sense of openness to each of the units. Nine of the apartments will be market-rate with the remaining as affordable units. Monthly rents range from $256 to $615.
Phase I and Phase II of the Warehouse Redevelopment played an important role in the revitalization of Rock Island and represents a significant investment in the community by RIHA and its project partners. It has had significant positive impact on converting a once blighted property in a deteriorating neighborhood into a productive landmark in a now thriving area within the city.
The Anastasia Murphy house is a Second Empire double home built in the late 1870s. The national historic landmark is a one-of-a-kind home that sits along one of Rock Island’s east-west thoroughfares. The redevelopment of the property includes four two-story Chicago style for-sale loft condominiums ranging from 2,010 to 2,250 square feet. The redevelopment of Murphy Lofts was the result of a 2004 partnership between Community Housing Services (CHS) and Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH). The Murphy Lofts represent the first development project by CHS, the non-profit affiliated with RIHA. The lofts were sold as part of the GROWTH Live Work program.
RIHA purchased the Hickman Center in 2005 as the RIHA maintenance warehouse however; the HUD mandated transition to a project-based management model eliminated the need for a centralized maintenance facility. The building is currently being used to store usable appliances from Manor Homes and other maintenance-based equipment and materials that are used on an infrequent periodic basis.
The demolition of Valley Homes was recommended as part of the 2003 Asset Management Plan and the 57 unit development was demolished in October 2005. The Asset Management Plan also recommended that the vacant land be redeveloped to include up to 40 mixed-income, single-family homes. According to the recommended Plan, the number of homes would be driven by design (townhouse, duplex, condo or single-family) and funding sources.
The now vacant Valley Homes site includes 8.5-acres, 6 acres of which is buildable. The site is bounded by residential buildings to the north and south and sandwiched between hilly, wooded terrain to the east and west. The site is generally rectangular in shape and is rolling, although the terrain rises toward the south with a retaining wall and wooded area. A retaining wall is also located along the eastern border. Because of the surrounding hilly typography, the site sits in a “bowl”, though drainage is adequate toward the northwest. Access to the site is available from 25th Street. While the obsolete public housing structures have been demolished and the site has been cleared, significant serious infrastructure issues remain making the property costly to redevelop.
For additional information, please call 309.788.0825 or e-mail Housing@riha4rent.org.