Work just started on the Metro Landing of Swansea, a $10.9 million apartment building for low-income seniors right next to the Swansea MetroLink station. With groceries and medical offices within walking distance, and major shopping, sports and entertainment a mass transit ride away, the development is promising.
There are a lot of parallels between the Swansea development and the Meredith Home plan for downtown Belleville — both are apartments for low-income seniors, both are roughly the same dollar amount, both need the bulk of the cost covered by tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, both are being developed by the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority.
But the Meredith Home remains a question mark.
The historic building is on the Public Square, so it is in the middle of a lot of potential shopping, entertainment and social life. But being in the middle of town means parking is a problem, and was mainly why the state rejected the project for tax credits while approving Swansea’s new construction on open ground.
SWIDA again applied for the state tax credits, so what is being done about the pesky parking problem?
They are working on it. SWIDA Executive Director Mike Lundy said they are pursuing parking options, understand the importance but have yet to solidify a solution.
They will need those details if the Meredith Home project clears the state’s preliminary round of picks. Just because it got past the prelims last year is no guarantee for this year, because Lundy said there are more applicants this year. He also said there are not really any good options for financing the Meredith Home unless it gets those state tax credits.
Before they put their heads on their pillows each night, maybe Belleville leaders should say a little prayer for parking.