Senate Approves Rep. Unes Bill to Help Revitalize Vacant Hanna City Work Camp

The Illinois Senate approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) to help Peoria County redevelop the vacant property known as the former Hanna City Work Camp. Rep. Unes introduced House Bill 4319 to help redevelop the blighted area by allowing the county to permit private investment of the property.

“This bill will give Peoria County more economic opportunities which will assist in clean-up of the vacant site previously held by the Hanna City Work Camp,” said Rep. Unes. “It’s a common sense measure to assist in development and is a win-win for everyone involved. The unused work camp has been an eye sore for many years. Allowing for private investment should help pique 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 since remained vacant, in part because the land has not been allowed to receive private investment. Rep. Unes and Peoria County have been advocating strongly for this legislation, which grants the city and county much more flexibility in developing the blighted property.

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 the private development of the former Hanna City Work Camp.

HB 4319–sponsored by Mike Unes in the House and Dave Koehler in the Senate– passed the House in late April and the Senate on Wednesday. The legislation now heads to Governor Rauner for his signature.