Update: I just did the tax on the property taxes generated by the development. Once complete, the project would bring in about $152,000 a year to the city (based on a mill rate of $21 per $1,000 of assessed property value). Does anyone know if this is a TIF district? If not, that's a nice addition to the city's general fund.
Update 2: Just talked with City Development Director Brian O'Connell. This is a TIF district. The city borrowed $2 million to knock down old buildings and prepare the site for redevelopment. Tax revenue from the development will go to paying back that debt. Once that's paid back, the tax revenue will go to local governments.
O'Connell made another important point. There's not much development going on anywhere in the state (pretty much the whole country) right now. This may be Racine's best shot at redeveloping this parcel for several years.
As for comparisons to Jacato Drive, O'Connell said there was no comparison. The Jacato Drive apartments were built to 1970s standards, which are a far cry from modern standards of quality and energy efficiency. He added that Jacato Drive was built at the end of an airport runway, while the new development is planned for a vibrant neighborhood. "I have a real difficulty seeing the comparison," O'Connell said.
Update 3: Here's a PDF of the petitions opposing the West Racine project. Colt may be right: Any prospective mayoral candidate (ie. Helding, Spangenberg) may have a difficult time voting for this project.
Original post: The City Plan Commission is scheduled to vote this evening on a $7 million low-income housing project planned for West Racine.
The project pits city staff against residents over the vacant plot of land at Washington Avenue and West Boulevard. At a public hearing Wednesday, City Development Director Brian O'Connell spoke in favor of the project, which includes 55 apartments and commercial space. But 26 people spoke against the proposal at the meeting, and opponents turned in petitions with at least 200 signatures. Eight people spoke in favor of the development, which is proposed by a North Carolina-based company.
The city knocked down old buildings on the site to make way for new development, but initially had hoped for a restaurant and a mixed-use development that blends with West Racine's buildings. The architecture on the new development arguably fits with the area, but there's no restaurant in the plan. Opponents are worried the low-income housing - available to families who make between $23,000 and $43,000 a year - will attract crime to West Racine.
The Plan Commission put off a vote at its meeting on Jan. 28 because it ran out of time. Members scheduled a special meeting for tonight because the developer faces a Feb. 17 deadline to win approval for state tax credits. The City Council meets Tuesday and needs to approve the development for it to move forward.
At least one Plan Commission member is in favor of the project. Brent Oglesby said at the last meeting he intended to vote for the development. The project needs three votes to win the Plan Commission's recommendation.