Demolition begins on hazardous housing complexes in Cairo - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Demolition begins on hazardous housing complexes in Cairo

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CAIRO (WSIL) — A demolition company is busy removing two housing complexes in Cairo. 

More than two years ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced they would be demolishing the McBride and Elmwood housing units due to unsafe and hazardous conditions. 

At one time, there were more than 270 apartments between the two-story structures, which were built in the 1940s.

In 2016, HUD took control of the Alexander Housing Authority after state leaders asked the department to investigate the possible misuse of thousands of federal dollars. 

Back in March, Earth Services out of Benton was awarded $1.9 million to demolish the two campuses. 

Pete Klus is one of the owners of the demolition company. 

He said it will take at least another month for the company to finish tearing down the 18 units at McBride. 

Then, crews will move to 12th Street where Elmwood is located to demolish those apartments. 

While McBride is being demolished, crews are removing remaining hazardous materials, such as asbestos, at Elmwood. 

A spokesperson from HUD said the reason they are demolishing the complexes is because it would cost more than $7.5 million to renovate the buildings and bring them up to code. 

Last April, HUD forced more than 40 people out of the public housing complexes due to the horrible living conditions.

HUD said residents were given vouchers to move anywhere in the country when they were forced to move out of the complexes, but most of them stayed in Illinois. 

Once the two complexes are demolished, Klus said they will turn the land into green space. 

Klus said he expects the job to be complete by the end of summer, pending any more delays from the weather. 

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