Demolition starting on Cairo, Ill. housing complexes

First McBride, then Elmwood

Cairo housing buildings demolished

CAIRO, IL . (KFVS) - Demolition has started on the Cairo housing complexes leaving people in the community with mixed emotions.

On Tuesday, multiple excavators were parked on high rubble and debris, tearing down the building people once called home.

Since 1943, Alexander County Housing Authority provided affordable housing to people on the southernmost tip of Illinois.

Terri Childs grew up in McBride with her family. One year ago, Department of Housing and Urban Development officially closed Elmwood and McBride Complexes forcing families to find a new place to live.

Childs bought her first home in Cairo in full, but she said she will miss McBride (Pyramid Courts) because of the memories.

“I stayed there since I was in the fourth or fifth grade. that’s the only thing I knew," she said.

For Terry Childs, this was more than just affordable housing.

“We go out there now, it’s nothing. When I went to take pictures, my daughter picked up some bricks. Tears was just coming down," Childs said.

For two years, Cairo has carried a stigma, according to Childs, but she said Cairo is not a bad place, but more like a big family.

“Sometimes some people were looking on the outside and they didn’t see the love we had for each other,” Childs said.

Tearing down McBride will last three weeks to a month, then they move up the road to finish Elmwood.

First Black Mayor in Cairo Judson Childs calls the work bittersweet.

“I’m sorry to see people lose their homes, some people have never lived anywhere but the housing," Childs said.

However, he also believes it’s a change for the better.

“It was in poor conditions. some of the things - the walls would crumble. It was just deteriorating. I think that they really needed to do that, to tear them down," Judson Childs said he hopes there is still a future. "I would love to see them replaced so some of the people if they desired they could come back to Cairo - it’s no place like home.”

A home that Childs believes will eventually bounce back.

“I love Cairo and I still do. I’m not giving up because Cairo is coming back," she said.

The work is being done by a contractor out of Benton, RCRA.

Once the company removes all the concrete and foundation, the owner says they hope to restore it to green space.

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