Opposition intensified this week to plans to build a 24- to 26-unit subsidized housing complex in Silvis, as dozens of residents and a town official questioned the plan during a a public meeting.

Around 50 residents of Silvis gathered in a town hall meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the development of Apoyo village as well as other town news.

“Why Silvis?” Mayor Matt Carter asked during the meeting.

Apoyo Village, a Section 8 housing development that received about $6 million in state grants and low-interest loans, has faced opposition from some Silvis residents concerned about the recommendation of the development of the Illinois Department of Corrections and the SAFER Foundation, which helps individuals with arrest and conviction records in the Quad City area, overcome the barriers they face to find housing and getting a job.

The Greater Metropolitan Area Housing Authority of Rock Island County is the agency behind the proposed project. The agency already operates Pebble Creek Apartments in Silvis, Heartland Park Senior Living Community in Moline and Hometown Harbor in East Moline.

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Those who oppose the Apoyo Village project say the development targets tenants outside the Illinois Department of Corrections and the project is less than half a mile from the elementary school in Bowlesburg and several daycares, and just over half a mile from United Township High School.

Amy Clark, CEO of RI County’s Greater Metropolitan Authority, said Apoyo Village would not be a halfway house for people coming out of prison. Registered sex offenders would not be allowed to live in the development, and prospective residents would have to pass a background check.

The objective behind the development is to provide affordable housing with a variety of nearby services for people who need them. She has stated in previous meetings that they have no intention of building a development in a town where it is not wanted.

Nathan Joseph, senior member of project developer Domera Development, LLC, answered questions from city officials and residents via Zoom during Wednesday’s town hall. The complex will be owned and managed by the Rock Island County Housing Finance Corporation, a non-profit subsidiary of the Greater Metropolitan Authority of RI County.

Joseph said the Greater Metropolitan Authority of RI County reviewed demographics and other data recommended by the Illinois Housing Development Authority and found Silvis to be a good fit. If built, the 24-26 unit project will be located at 2001 5th St.

Asked about other communities being considered for the project, Joseph gave the example of Reynolds, Illinois, located in southern Rock Island County. He said Reynolds did not have enough equipment to meet the needs of the project.

Community members asked if there was anything the city could do to stop the development in its tracks. Silvis, Nevada City Administrator Lemke said fair housing laws in Illinois prohibit the city from attempting to restrict affordable housing.

“Right now, really, all we need to do is make the proposed development fit the zoning that is currently for that parcel,” Lemke said.

At a public meeting held on May 19 by the Greater Metropolitan Authority of RI County, the organization expressed its wish to hold another town hall for public comment, but no date had been set.

Joseph said he received around 600 letters from the community in support of the development. However, other residents signed petitions and sent their own letters opposing its construction.

“The CEO, from the start, said, ‘We’re not coming if we’re not welcome in the community,'” Carter said.

He was interrupted by a chorus of “You’re not welcome”, shouted by the crowd.

“And I don’t know what other message can be sent from our community to the organization,” he concluded.

  • Residents will begin to see Western Illinois University students on their doorsteps, working to inventory key lines of service in the community. As the city gets an accurate inventory of lead service lines, it will begin planning how to replace them – a process that will take years. Since the replacement project is unfunded, Lemke said the costs would currently fall on residents, but they may receive funding in the future.
  • The plan to send water from Moline to part of Silvis should be completed by August, Lemke said. Water rates will not change based on this program, and any past changes in water, sewer, or garbage rates have not been attributed to the agreement with Moline.

Journalist Thomas Geyer contributed to this article

Photos: Silvis solar energy