By Ulysses Arn -
State Sen. Dave Syverson in a Facebook post Friday morning finally let his feelings be known on the highly controversial New Towne public housing project that the Rockford Housing Authority, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and developer Gorman and Company want to build on South New Towne Drive, on Rockford's East side.
Syverson urged the Rockford city council to vote NO on the project at their upcoming December 21st meeting, writing:
I haven't weighed in on the New Towne issue but as a local leader and resident of Rockford allow me to share three simple reasons why I believe the Council should vote no.
1) Every legitimate study has shown that cluster housing does not work. It certainly hasn't has not worked in Rockford.
2) Rockford has, I believe, more public housing and low income housing than any other city of comparable size. For HUD to insinuate that this is a racial issue just shows how they overplay the race card, which unfortunately then takes away their credibility when real racial issues arises.
3) At a projected cost of $250,000 per unit (yes I know that includes maintenance) that does not sound like "furthering fair housing" . What taxpayers can get $250,000 home from the government? And with so many vacant homes available at a fraction of that cost, it just tells me how financially out of touch these HUD bureaucrats are.
Bottom line, I would love to see HUD try to explain to the courts why they believe implementing a failed cluster housing program, in a community that has more housing than others, at a price that is "unfair" compared to the average Rockford housing costs, should be forced on Rockford.
Following a November committee hearing about the project, which would see 49 housing units built most of which are to replace the Fairgrounds housing project which is scheduled for demolition, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that they were launching a civil rights and fair housing investigation against the city because of comments aldermen made during that committee hearing. The committee ultimately approved the projects plat and advanced it to the full city council.
If HUD finds against the city it could lose out on millions in federal funding and council members could face prosecution by the Justice Department.
When the council votes on the project Monday Mayor Larry Morrissey could very well cast the deciding vote as the aldermen are split on the issue. Of course Morrissey should not do that due to his deep ties to Gorman's, including the company giving him thousands of dollars in campaign donations, and Morrissey and Gorman executives trips over the last year to China to trade EB-5 visas for millions of dollars in financing to turn the downtown Amerock building into a hotel.