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Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 01:01 am

Nehemiah plans more new homes

City aids housing effort with

The City of Springfield and an east-side affordable housing organization will again partner to construct new homes for low-to-moderate income residents. On Oct. 6, the public affairs and safety committee will consider a measure to sell five parcels of land to not-for-profit Nehemiah Expansion, Inc., for $500.

The Rev. Silas Johnson, chief executive officer of Nehemiah and pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, 2208 E. Kansas St., has overseen the construction of 20 single-family homes in the two blocks surrounding his church since the March 2006 tornadoes swept through and damaged a large portion of the east side of Springfield. With the city's help, Nehemiah now plans to begin Phase II of its project and build 30 additional two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes, complete with basements and garages.

"The city allows us to buy the land at a very reasonable cost," Johnson says. "It gives us a better opportunity to apply additional funds and spend more on other properties."

If the city council OK's the ordinance, the organization plans to begin building on the land in spring 2009. The addresses are 926 S. 16th St., 1220 S. 16th St., 2312 S. Grand Ave., 809 S. 19th St., and 815 S. 19th St. Ernie Slottag, the city's communication director, says the city benefits from this type of partnership. He doesn't foresee any opposition from aldermen.

"What Nehemiah does, it gets the neighborhood cleaned up and gets some nice, affordable homes in the area," Slottag says.

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.

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