Trailside

Felicia Martin

Community Service Leadership Seminar

 

Mid Central Community Action (Trailside Subdivision Project)

 

Mid Central Community Action is a not-for-profit organization who’s goals are to help individuals and families reach self sufficiency.  This is done by forming partnerships with varieties of local governmental bodies, private businesses, educational institutions, and other human services.  One of the partnerships that MCCA is involved in is the Twin Cities Neighborhood Redevelopment Partnership.  This partnership is a collaboration of MCCA, Inc, State Farm Bank, the City of Bloomington, and the Town of Normal.  This partnership was formed to help families to achieve home ownership by providing counseling, referral, and encouragement.  Another objective of the partnership is to improve neighborhoods and make them safer and healthier.  One of the latest projects on neighborhood development through these partnerships is Trailside Subdivision.

           

Some years ago, the old Beich Candy Factory went up in flames and therefore leaving an available location for redevelopment.  Originally, the area was to become a center for non-profit offices, but there weren’t enough agencies looking for space.  MCCA teamed up with several agencies to build 23 affordable homes at the site.   According to Rick Barrera of MCCA, the goal was to build a market rate home, then find the subsidies and the loan packages that can bring the mortgages down for the homeowner.  This area became known as Trailside Subdivision.

This subdivision is located at the corner of Lumber and West Grove Sts in Bloomington.  The homes are handicap adaptable and they are visitable.  They are adjacent to the Constitution Trail and Alton Depot Park.  According to Rick Barerra of MCCA, the homes sell between $130,000-$140,000, and depending on the type of assistance provided, they can be bought for even lower.  These homes consist of 2 and 3 bedroom homes with 1 or 2 car garages. Some have basements and some do not.  

The rooms are proportionately sized with ample closet space. Basements are ready to be finished with rough-ins for a bathroom, and egress window. Each kitchen has a state of the art design with room for a breakfast table and raised panel cabinetry. The homes are built Fortified for safer living and equipped with high efficiency central air conditioning and heating systems along with double insulated windows.

This project was meant to create affordable housing in the City of Bloomington. Funding for the project has come from a variety of government and not for profit sources. As a result, the bottom line is greatly reduced for people so that they can be on their way to purchasing a home that may have otherwise been impossible.  Some examples of the homes are a 2 bedroom selling at $130,000, a 3 bedroom for $132,000 with no basement, and a 3 bedroom for $140,000 with a basement. The plan was to build 23 homes total. There was a stop at 4 at one point due to the homes costing more than what they were selling and the builders wanted to make sure they weren’t building too many at a time without selling.  This would minimize holding cost.  No information was provided as to how much MCCA paid for the homes.

 

There are many different opinions as to whether or not this redevelopment is a good idea.  To some, it is because it allows lower income families to be able to afford quality, energy efficient homes. To others, it’s a bad idea because the wealthier people of the area said they don’t want poor people moving to their area causing trouble and disturbing the peace and quiet. This is one of the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) areas.

 

Would I recommend this program? Yes. This program allows people to be able to afford quality homes and not settle for homes with little to no quality. By being built in poorer neighborhoods, it can help improve the health and safety of these neighborhoods by building these nicer and more eco-friendly homes.  More families would move to the area and can make the neighborhood more family friendly. Other solutions to this program are to not only make homes affordable for purchase, but to also make them affordable for renting. Not all persons who want a nice home have the credit or income to get approved for a mortgage.

 

Sources:

1.  Rick Barrera from Mid Central Community Action

2.  Mid Central Community Action Trailside Homes Brochure

3.  www.MCCA.org