June 9, 2010

City returned West Racine grant to preserve development options

Last week we reported on an oddity in West Racine: The city actually returned a $40,000 brownfield grant awarded by the state in 2007 to remediate a small plot of land in the neighborhood.

Alderman Jim Spangenberg clarified what happened this week. The city received the money to pave over a small lot at 3124 Washington Ave., near the corner of West Boulevard and Washington Avenue. The idea was to create a small square for public use, similar to a smaller Monument Square.

The city returned the grant after learning that it's not allowed to sell the property for 20 years after the money is spent. The restriction was unacceptable because the city hopes to redevelop the site, which could require selling the plot of land, Spangenberg said.

So, it ultimately came down to the city reading the fine print and realizing the grant wasn't a good fit for the long-term plans for the area.