Decatur and Central Illinois Land Bank Set New Direction for Community Makeover

Estimated read time 4 min read

The City of Decatur, with help from the Central Illinois Land Bank Authority (CILBA), has hit a turning point by selling their first home through the creative ‘Abandonment to Rehab Program.’ The goal is to turn old, forgotten properties into lively homes. This shows what’s possible when local authorities and groups work towards the same goal.

Fighting Against Urban Neglect

Decatur is changing its game plan. Instead of just reacting to rundown properties, they’re aiming to fix them before things get worse. The idea isn’t only about fixing single houses. It’s about giving a whole area a new breath of life. Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe highlighted this project as key for making real progress in community renewal efforts set by the City Council.

The program stands as a shining example, showing us that the right combination of vision, resources, and community backing can make real changes.


A Cooperative Financial Structure

This program’s financial foundation is particularly creative, tapping into state and federal money to revive neglected buildings. It’s managed to pool together significant funds from both Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) grants as well as American Rescue Plan (ARPA) dollars from the City of Decatur. Because of this smart use of funding, they’ve been able to not only fix but totally overhaul these chosen buildings.

A crucial investment of $80,000, split down the middle between CILBA and Decatur, was critical in launching this venture. This cash came from grants from both a Land Bank Capacity Program and an IHDA Strong Communities Program. The investment has provided the necessary fiscal base for these renewal projects.


Scaling Up Success

Completing and selling the first home in this program is just the start for CILBA and Decatur. They’ve landed a $337,000 IHDA Strong Communities grant that’ll let them fix up more empty houses in 2023. This cash will help spruce up four homes they’re already working on, plus it’ll boost five other homes once the state gives them the green light.


Empowering Through Education and Partnerships

The program thrives thanks to many partners working together. The Land of Lincoln Credit Union offers loans with low interest to contractors who are fixing these houses. It’s a big deal because it allows smaller builders to jump in and help out – building both homes end community ties.

Local economic growth.

Also, working with the Community Investment Corporation of Decatur (CICD) shows that this program really values lasting homeownership. CICD teaches future homeowners about what it means to own a house with classes on homebuying. This ensures that the perks of fixing up homes last longer than just making them look nice again. These classes help create a group of buyers who know what they’re doing and have their finances in order, ready to make their mark on the neighborhood as it gets new life.


A Model for Urban Renewal

The Abandonment to Rehab Program in Decatur isn’t just fixing’ up old houses. It’s an example for other cities fighting urban blight. IHDA’s head honcho Kristin Faust cheered on Decatur’s turnover, noting how the project helps jack up home values, kicks off economic growth, and bumps up the number of affordable housings.

Decatur’s success is inspiring other places in Illinois and further away. They see the real advantages of working together and investing in fixing up cities.

Looking Forward

The city of Decatur and CILBA keep working hard to turn empty buildings into homes full of hope and chances. Their efforts are crucial. They’re not just fixing up buildings they’re giving people a chance to own a home, which could be impossible otherwise. Everyone is excited to see the finished projects and start new ones, waiting for what’s next in Decatur’s comeback tale.

If state support keeps up, if collaborations work well, and if people in the community stay involved, Decatur’s jump from abandoned houses to refurbished homes will make a big impact that lasts.

A proactive way to handle city problems is something other towns could take notes on. They want to refresh their neighborhoods and promise a brighter, steadier tomorrow for the people living there.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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