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Housing Authority issued millions in tax credits, assistance for major Central Park Tower project

The Housing Authority Elglearned it will receive major boost form tax credits for plans update Central Park Tower affordable senior

The Housing Authority of Elgin learned it will receive a major boost in the form of tax credits for plans to update Central Park Tower, the affordable senior housing complex along Route 31. Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: July 10, 2013 6:33AM

ELGIN — The Housing Authority of Elgin has learned that it will be receiving millions of dollars in low income housing tax credits and other assistance which will help cover the costs for the rehabilitation of Central Park Tower, 120 S. State St.

According to a press release issued Friday, those credits, along with a rental assistance demonstration awarded to HAE in December, will combine for up to $24 million of project costs.

The plan calls for holding 150 units set aside as affordable housing along with 14 apartments listed at market rate. The existing tower is set to be rehabbed with a mid-rise building constructed adjacent to the tower, “creating a senior campus with a courtyard between the buildings,” the release noted.

The space adjacent to the existing tower to be used for this endeavor was the site of an old mansion that had been converted into apartments.

“The rehabilitation will include a conversion of efficiencies into one-bedroom units. In addition, there will be amenities in the form of an exercise/rehabilitation spaces, commercial kitchen, a private nursing station as well as some small commercial space in the new structure,” the release states.

“The primary development goal of the [Elgin Housing Authority] is to provide quality affordable housing that rivals any market-rate development. Through our development efforts, we want to promote diversity in mixed-income and improve the quality of life for elderly residents while being environmentally responsible,” HAE Executive Director Damon E. Duncan stated in the release.

The Housing Authority has been part of Elgin since 1966 and was established under the federal Housing Authority Act.

Duncan replaced Eunice Lawshea and came to his Elgin post in January 2012 from Atlanta, where he was working in the private sector as a consultant on public housing matters. Prior to that he worked in his native Detroit as an administrator for the Detroit Housing Commission. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Duncan has more than 20 years experience in public housing-related fields.

Last summer, Duncan noted that the HAE oversees about 255 units of public housing across eight buildings as well as 940 Section 8 housing vouchers across northern Kane County and an adjacent portion of Cook County. A board appointed by the mayor and city council and made up of a city council member, a tenant, and three at-large community members oversees the organization, which has an $11 million budget and which reports to the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.

In August, Duncan said he expected the Central Park Tower work would begin sometime this summer.

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