Centreville hosts groundbreaking for housing project after being named ‘poorest city’

CENTREVILLE, Ill. – City leaders in Centreville, Illinois reacted to recently being named as the poorest city in America, meeting Tuesday to break ground on a $328 million new housing project, "2018 Centreville Development Initiative.”

The city is partnering with Home Depot, Quicken Loans, and the Atlanta-based Westminster Foundation, to name a few, to provide about 2,500 new housing units. The project would be stimulated by an innovative down payment plan which would allow the public to buy homes for a down payment of $100, government, military, and law enforcement for just $1 and veterans could buy a home for no money down.

Mayor Marius Jackson is determined to see the city he grew up in thrive.

“We need people to have a community, we need people to have economic growth,” said Mayor Marius Jackson. “I just believe this homeownership program is going to move the city in a positive direction.”

Mayor Jackson said the city's population dwindled from more than 11,000 residents in the 1970s to about 5,900 today. A recent USA Today report that named Centreville the poorest town in the nation jolted Jackson into action.

“Our goal is to build on every vacant lot in the city. This is just a starting point,” he said.

It’s not without opposition. Some residents who drove by the celebration didn’t want to go on camera but were worried the homes would be built on a floodplain. Mayor Jackson said the groundbreaking was set up on a floodplain, but the homes will be built on safe plots throughout town.

“These are professionals, no house will be built on ground that is unsafe,” said Mayor Marius Jackson.

Mayor Jackson is calling this project Illinois' most ambitious redevelopment programs ever.