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ROCK ISLAND — $12 million later and the Two Rivers Point apartment building looks like new.

On Friday, Community Home Partners, a nonprofit affiliate of the Rock Island Housing Authority, celebrated the completion of a multi-million dollar renovation of Two Rivers Point — an 11-story, 141-unit apartment building at 3130 9th Street, in Rock Island.

“We took an old building and made it new,” said Susan Anderson, CEO of Community Home Partners.

Built in 1968, the high-rise building — once known as “Sunset Heights” — was formerly owned by the Rock Island Housing Authority.

Renovations were comprehensive, refurbishing all of the building’s studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Changes include new floors, stoves, refrigerators, bathtubs, sinks, cabinets and more.

That’s in addition to new roofing, a new boiler system, and new landscaping, among other alterations. On the first floor, the public community room and front lobby also received makeovers.

The project was funded with the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Alliant Asset Management Company, the Rock Island Housing Authority, and Prudential Asset Resources.

Vernon Winter, chair of the Rock Island Housing Authority, said that the Two Rivers Point project is part of ongoing efforts by the RIHA to convert public housing to voucher housing managed by the nonprofit Community Home Partners (CHP).

Nonprofit control, he and others explained, confers numerous benefits, including ways, leverage public and private debt and equity for reinvestment.

Nonprofit management also allows for more local control.

“The not-for-profit is able to recognize the need in our community and respond to that need, versus HUD telling us what we need, which may not be what we need,” Winter said. Under nonprofit control, local housing can avoid “a lot of their superfluous regulations that are put in for New York and Chicago,” Winter added.

According to Winter, one of the city's most pressing needs is for senior housing.

As previously reported by the Dispatch-Argus, the average age in Rock Island County has increased over the last decade.

In 2018, the median age had risen to 40.4 years, almost half a year higher than in 2010, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In that time, the number of residents age 65 years and older jumped by 16%.

Jerome Cacari, a 79-year-old Marine Corps veteran and 13-year resident of the apartment building, was sitting in his favorite spot in the new lobby on Friday afternoon, greeting the building regulars as they walked in and out.

Building renovations are often initiated to attract new tenants. But, often, the most direct beneficiaries are longtime residents like Cacari, who recently moved into a handicap-accessible apartment.

“They done a good job,” Cacari said with a smile. “I’m happy. I happy no reason to move.”

Community Home Partners is currently accepting applications for one- and two-bedroom units. For more information or to apply, visit communityhomepartners.com or call 309-788-0825, ext. 200.

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