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The Housing Gap: Neighborhoods

Below are selected stories of neighborhoods and issues we've covered in the past few years. 




Some neighborhoods leave pedestrians out in the street 

By Landon Cassman and Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - The city of Champaign came up with a plan 25 years ago to repair deteriorating sidewalks. 

Since then, the city has fixed some old ones and developers have built new sidewalks in new subdivisions.

 But in some of the older areas in town – many of which are home to low-income residents – the city never had a plan to install sidewalks and has never done so.





Taxpayers pick up the tab for many neglectful property owners

By Pam G. Dempsey, and Daniel Mueller/For Neglectful property owners in Champaign and Urbana have left their fellow citizens with more than un-mowed lawns, deteriorating houses and yard trash.

They also have left a hefty cleanup bill.

A review of city data shows that Champaign and Urbana taxpayers have paid about $145,000 to mow those lawns, haul trash or board up entrances to vacant property in the years 2009 and 2010. The data was obtained through Freedom of Information requests submitted to both cities.(See Champaign data here and Urbana data here






Neighborhood declines - and county blocks any hope of recovery

By Liz Clancy Lerner — It doesn’t take much to get Tom Lemke fired up.

Just ask him about his neighborhood – a place he has called home for 63 years -- and his frustration is evident.  

"They say we’re a slum – run down. That's the way we've always been treated.” Lemke said all this as he takes a deep breath into his oxygen mask. “We have really been abused . . . and we have really tried to take care of the area."






Tweet Beat: C-U neighbors use Facebook to engage communities

By Michelle Hagopian/For CU-CitizenAccess -- With so many neighborhoods in Champaign County, it can be difficult to track how residents communicate and reach out to others.

What is evident in social media, however, is that quite a few CU neighborhoods use Facebook to get the job done.



Shadow Wood: Longtime residents happy with their neighborhood

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - M.L. Ledent doesn’t like it when people ask if she still lives in her trailer.

“I don’t live in a trailer,” the 83-year-old retired nanny and housekeeper tells them. “I live in a mobile home.” 

Ledent has lived in the Shadow Wood mobile home park nearly as long as it has existed.

In 1968, a year after the park opened, she and her husband, who died nearly 20 years ago, moved into a three-bedroom mobile home.







Longview: Struggling to survive 

By Jhane Reifsteck—The town of Longview has faced a high povery rate and loss of business in recent years.

In the 2000 Census, Longview's povery rate was just over 15 percent, with 25 of the 160 residents living at or below the poverty level. 




Inspection program differs vastly in Champaign-Urbana

CHAMPAIGN -- Champaign and Urbana both have rental housing inspection programs, but the two are markedly different.

The inspections are designed to ensure that a rental property complies with fire safety codes as well as city and national maintenance and building codes. 

The codes cover such issues as lack of proper heating or hot water, roof or ceiling leaks, flooding, mold, plumbing problems, broken or nonworking windows and roach or rodent infestations.