House Committee Approves Legislation to Help Revitalize Vacant Hanna City Work Camp

Photo courtesy of Matt Dayhoff / Journal Star
The former Hanna City Work Camp stands deserted in 2003 near Hanna City.

Today, the House Executive Committee approved legislation to help Peoria County redevelop the vacant property known as the former Hanna City Work Camp. The legislation sponsored by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) will help redevelop the blighted area by allowing the county to permit private investment in the property.

“This bill gives the county more economic opportunities which will assist in clean-up of this blighted site,” said Rep. Unes. “It’s a common sense measure to assist in development and is a win-win for all involved. The unused work camp has been an eye sore for many years. Allowing for private investment should help perk the interest of potential developers.”

The Hanna City Work Camp closed in 2002 and sat vacant for nearly 16 years. The former prison work camp was owned by the State of Illinois and was operated by the Department of Corrections. In 2009, the State conveyed the land over to Peoria County. The 40 acre site has remained vacant due in part because the land is not allowed to receive private investment which is why the county and Rep. Unes are pushing legislation to give the city and county more flexibility to utilize the vacant lot for new development.

Currently, Illinois law only permits Peoria County to redevelop the vacant lot for public use, not private development. The legislation (HB 4319) sponsored by Rep. Unes will allow for private development of the former Hanna City Work Camp.

House Bill 4319 now heads to the House floor for approval.