Urbana receives $71,000 grant

The Cinema Gallery in downtown Urbana.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Cinema Gallery in downtown Urbana.

By Karen Liu, Staff Writer

The city of Urbana received a $71,000 two-year state grant from Illinois Housing Development Authority for demolishing abandoned properties and maintaining cleared lots. 

The fund comes from the Abandoned Residential Municipality Relief Program, which aims to help the city secure, maintain and demolish abandoned properties.

“This grant is one of the couple grant funds that we use to reduce blight in the community,” said Matthew Rejc, the community development coordinator of the city of Urbana.

He said that it can cause people’s property values to decline.

“It’s not fair to residents who keep up their homes and want to maintain their neighborhood’s property values,” Rejc said.

The city is still looking to finalize the location for the grant fund, said Rejc. The city hopes to identify abandoned and vacant properties and demolish them within the next year.

“We want to try to do this as quickly as possible.” Rejc said.

The University will experience little to no influence from this grant.

“This grant fund is more focused on single family houses in the larger community,” Rejc said. “I don’t anticipate that any of the funding will actually be used on the U of I campus.”

Urbana is one of the 67 cities and counties in Illinois to receive a grant.

The grant agreement is expected to be discussed before the Urbana City Council Committee on April 10, and the final decision will be made on April 17.

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