City poised to buy Adams Roofing property

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Marcia Nelesen
Friday, August 30, 2013

JANESVILLE--The city of Janesville is poised to buy riverfront property owned by Adams & Sons Roofing, a prime parcel described in the past as instrumental to riverfront and downtown redevelopment but also an area prone to flooding.

The proposed purchase goes to the plan commission at its 6:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.

The plan commission's recommendation will be forwarded to the city council Monday, Sept. 9.

The site includes the business building and three vacant lots at 411 N. Main St., 451 N. Main St., 457 N. Main St. and 463 N. Main St.—a total of about 1.2 acres.

The properties front the Rock River between East Centerway to the south and the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad to the north. They are located within the 100-year floodplain.

Floodwaters deluged the business in 2008, with damage totaling more than $46,000. Owners tore down a portion of the building that extended over the river.

The three residences to the north were substantially damaged and were torn down by Adams Roofing, which owned the homes.

The main purpose of the acquisition would be to mitigate future property damage and business loss by relocating the business outside the floodplain, according to a memo from Jennifer Petruzzello, neighborhood services director.

The building would be demolished, the business relocated outside the floodplain and the site restored and maintained as public open space, providing more public access to the river. A bike trail likely would be built along the river, Petruzzello said in an earlier interview.

The property has long been described as a key parcel in river and downtown redevelopment plans.

“Acquisition and demolition of this property would improve the physical and visual access to the river and strengthen the local economic diversity by encouraging land use, which enhances the Rock River's natural qualities,” Petruzzello said in the memo.

“As this area is directly adjacent to the downtown, it is likely to encourage redevelopment efforts in the downtown area, as well.

“The downtown plan advocates that a prominent connection be established between the traditional downtown area and Traxler Park to 'help unite a seemingly disconnected area, stabilizing and strengthening the downtown revitalization effort,' ” she said.

After the 2008 flood, the city received an initial federal grant of $1.7 million administered by the state Community Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program to buy damaged residential properties. The grant was amended in 2012 to include $602,000 for Adams Roofing. That money includes costs for administration, demolition, site restoration and relocation.

There is no local share required.

The grant expires at the end of 2013.

The neighborhood services department has received an accepted offer for the properties, contingent upon plan commission and city council approval.

The purchase price will be released before the council meeting, Petruzzello said. The plan commission does not review financial aspects of such purchases.

The owners of Adams Roofing could not be reached Friday.

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