Colonel John Warner Homes was 433 units of crime-ridden public housing that stood on 14 acres within sight of the Illinois River and the international corporate headquarters of the Caterpillar Company. Mr. Whitman was the principal in charge at Telesis Corporation for the planning and oversight of what is now a safe and beautiful 233-unit, mixed-income neighborhood known as RiverWest.
Mr. Whitman secured a $16 million HOPE VI grant for the Peoria Housing Authority and arranged $3.6 million in tax increment, CDBG, and HOME funds from the City of Peoria for the project. During construction, the project included a new job-training program through the local unions to help Housing Authority residents access new jobs within walking distance of their homes.
The new River West neighborhood, now some of Peoria’s best rental housing, is helping to generate renewal in Peoria’s downtown.