Face-to-Face; RHA held informative meeting about S. New Towne Dr - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Face-to-Face; RHA held informative meeting about S. New Towne Drive


Rockford Housing Authority held a meeting with the residents of South New Towne Drive regarding the possibility of affordable housing complex coming to their neighborhood.
It was held at Heartland Community Church at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, November 21. 

Ron Clewer, Rockford Housing Authority CEO, says the Rockford Housing Authority's proposed development on South New Towne Driver will build a better neighborhood. 
But it's a controversial plan being met with mixed views.
The 49-unit property could be home to 43 Fairgrounds Valley families. They currently live in low-income public housing.
Clewer says they deserve to have opportunities provided near east state street.

Clewer explains, "This is a high quality very good environment of affordable housing that provides service. But an area of town that there are jobs. It is so much easier to get people employed if there are near the place of employment so this gives us access to a lot more opportunity for our folks."

Gorman and Company didn't make it to the meeting due to the weather conditions. Leaving a lot of questions unanswered for people who live near South New Towne.

Scott Abbott, a S. New Towne Resident, states, "Tell us the nuts and bolts of what's going to happen why you choose certain design elements and what are the benefits and draw backs to those design elements and let's come to an agreement of lets do what's best for that neighborhood in conjunction with what's best for the people that are going to move there."

People are still uneasy about the proposal. Some believe it'll drive up crime and bring property values down.

Dyanna Walker, a Rockford Resident, explained, "The perception that crime is in the public housing you add that fear to the factor they already have about crime and then it execrates and they feel concerned and so they place there opposition in a crime issue."

Clewer adds, "I think that the crime they fear is because they see more crime happening in their neighborhood and every neighborhood in the city of Rockford." 

Clewer says RHA wants to communicate with New Towne neighbors. He says he'll even help create a neighborhood association in that area.

Abbott said, "Ron has offered to form a neighborhood group that includes the residents of S. New Town which is great."
"That's the opportunity to blend neighbor with neighbor to talk about important issues," Clewer states, "because when we are fighting these issues alone as separate neighbors we are not going to make progress."

This is just one of many informative meetings to come. Residents say this is a good thing.

"I think that they are helping." Abbott says, "I have learned stuff that i did not know before about how the process was gone about to choose this site."

Ron Clewer says they will be making plans for their next meeting this Monday, November 23. They will be announcing it this coming week. 

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