The Illinois Housing Development Authority is helping the City of Jacksonville work on its next twenty years. IHDA Community Revitalization Planner Meghan Cuneo spoke to members of the public in two sessions yesterday at the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to discuss portions of the ongoing Community Needs Assessment Survey and having a complete view of the city’s needs across all of its demographics.
According to preliminary reports, 429 residents have turned in surveys to help the city create a long-term plan for its next 20 years. Cuneo told the crowd that ideally they want at least 700 responses, or 10% of Jacksonville’s population to answer the survey to get a true picture of what residents say the city needs to work on in terms of planning and housing: “Specifically, our program works with communities that are looking to expand or diversify their housing stock but don’t necessarily have the capacity, or time, or money to do long-term planning. We take on this role free of charge for communities that come to us and say: ‘Hey, look we really love to either rehabilitate our single-family housing or maybe get new developers in town, so we just need to have a plan for how that looks that aligns with what our community wants.’ We come in and partner and help do any or all of the technical assistance, whether that’s analyzing data or doing meetings like these, or conducting a housing stock survey so that the City of Jacksonville has all the resources they could possibly need to really kind of recruit and focus in on what they want their housing to look like in the coming years.”
Cuneo’s presentation can be viewed here.
Jacksonville City Planner Brian Nyberg says that the current survey information is showing that community stakeholder meetings held early on in the process have already hit on several of the key points of the results of the survey like more housing opportunities, better recreation opportunities, more industrial and commercial development, and improvements to city infrastructure.
Nyberg says the city is going to use $2.5 million that they received in American Rescue Plan funding to address some of those needs, albeit on a smaller scale: “With the money that’s coming down, I know that the city has talked about having meetings and support from the community as far as using this community needs assessment as to where they money goes. Recreation, walking and bike trails is a large [want] right now. What people don’t realize is that we have several bridges in town that need a lot of money [for repairs]. All the money coming down from the state is not going to fix all of our bridges. Those are the not-so-sexy things that we have to fix. The sidewalks and roads in town are also a need. Those would take way more money than the state is handing down to Jacksonville. Jacksonville got $2.5 million, and unfortunately, that doesn’t go very far anymore. You could spend $2.5 million going down one street just fixing the street or sidewalks.”
Cuneo’s presentation covers input on future possible improvement plans for the JDC site to what are Jacksonville’s current strengths and weaknesses. Members of the public are encouraged to go to this link and fill out the survey. Members of the public wishing to walk their neighborhoods to help complete the IHDA Housing Stock Survey can visit this link for more information. For more information, contact Nyberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 479-4620.