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The City of Evanston has released a report put together by Northwestern University student William McLaughlin documenting the progress of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2). NSP2 was the second installment of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which was created by Congress in 2008 with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. NSP2, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, gave funding to stabilize neighborhoods and arrest decline caused by abandoned or foreclosed properties.
The City of Evanston is using the NSP2 grant to acquire and/or rehabilitate foreclosed properties, redevelop a vacant industrial site and land bank for future development.
The City also proposed directing certain funds to redevelop an abandoned industrial property into Emerson Square, a 32-unit mixed-income community at the heart of the West Evanston Master Plan. This project was intended to connect neighborhoods and draw investment to a historically underdeveloped neighborhood.
Out of 200 applicants, Evanston was one of 52 grantees whose proposal was approved, and it was given $18.15 million to work on these two projects. Four years since the proposal, the City has made significant progress towards meeting their goals: of the 100 properties selected for the program in south and west Evanston, 91 have been acquired, of which 23 have been sold and 27 rented. With the exception of three properties that will be land-banked, the balance of the properties are on the market, soon to be listed or under construction. In addition, construction at Emerson Square is anticipated to be complete by early fall, and some residents already have begun to move in.
Among the benefits of the completion of NSP2 demonstrated in the report are the creation and retention of jobs (41 jobs alone were created or retained in the second quarter of this year), a drop in crime and new construction projects in hardest hit neighborhoods.