Photo by Mary Mumbrue.

On Oct. 28, Senator Richard Durbin toured part of Evanston’s Eighth Ward his objective was to view progress on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, the $18.15 million grant award the Senator helped the City secure to stabilize portions of west and south Evanston that have been hardest hit by foreclosures and to generate economic opportunities for local residents and businesses. The Senator visited two foreclosed properties on Callan and Custer avenues that are part of that program.

The properties are located in census tract 8102 in southeast Evanston. According to the 2010 census, tract 8102 has approximately 3,000 housing units, of which approximately 15 percent are vacant. Its housing stock is predominantly multi-family, with many large, vintage courtyard buildings as well as two- to six-flats. Between 2000 and 2009, 60 condominium conversion projects affected more than 800 units in Evanston. Of those, 61 percent were located in 8102, where more than 500 rental units were converted to condominiums.

The tour began at 140 Callan Ave., a three-flat that was foreclosed on in 2008. Brinshore Development, LLC, the City’s development partner in NSP2, acquired the property in September.

The tour ended at 313 Custer Ave., a two-flat acquired in late May. The property is currently under rehab, with completion anticipated by year end 2011. Workers rehabbing the property stopped their work briefly for the tour and to greet the senator. The property will be rented to households whose incomes do not exceed 120 percent of area median income.

Evanston’s NSP2 effort employs two strategies. First, the City will purchase and rehabilitate 100 foreclosed and vacant housing units throughout the target geography for sale or rent to income-eligible households. Second, the City will begin implementation of the West Evanston Master Plan with the purchase and redevelopment of vacant and blighted industrial property there for the first phase of Emerson Square, a 60+ unit mixed-income community offering apartments, townhomes, flats and single-family homes for rental and ownership.