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City moves on two more ‘eyesores’ in Sterling

Houses will be razed, property converted to greenspace

STERLING – The city is getting ready to cross off two more addresses on its blighted properties list.

The city will use federal grant funds awarded through the Illinois Housing Development Authority to demolish the structures at 1104 Dillon Ave. and 302 W. Fourth St. in Sterling.

The grant terms require that the city partner with a nonprofit organization, so the deeds are being transferred to Rock Island Economic Growth Corp. The nonprofit administers the funds, and after 3 years, they are sold back to the city for $1 when all grant requirements are met.

The 3-year period gives cities time to figure out what to do with the properties after demolition, and in the meantime, the cities aren’t responsible for maintaining the areas.

In the case of both of these properties, the city has already decided to convert them to green space.

The federal Blight Reduction Program was instituted in 2014, to coincide with the state’s Abandoned Property Program.

The city has 13 properties targeted, after receiving more grant money than expected.

“We asked for $300,000, and we were awarded $455,000,” Building and Zoning Administrator Amanda Schmidt said. “We’re allowed $35,000 for each structure, and we’ve been getting really good deals on the demos.”

Schmidt said many complaints have been received on the latest buildings on the demo block. One is a single-family dwelling, and the other a duplex.

“These houses have been vacant for years,” Schmidt said. “They were boarded up and have been eyesores.”

Schmidt said the grant terms call for seven buildings to be torn down by April 31, and the latest properties will bring the count to six.

Mayor Skip Lee said the city also plans to apply for federal funding from the Single-Family Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation program, which helps low-income homeowners pay for needed repairs.

Earlier this year, Rock Falls had said it was looking at halting its participation in the repairs program because it could no longer find contractors to do the work.

Rock Falls had received more than $1.6 million since it first received funding from the program in 2006.


The Sterling City Council next meets at 6:30 p.m. March 21 at City Hall, 212 Third Ave., on the first floor in the Council Chambers.

Go to or call City Hall at 815-632-6621 for an agenda or more information.

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