Janesville66.3°

Grant request for Case Feed building too large: CDA

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
March 19, 2009
— Community Development Authority members on Wednesday refrained from giving a developer the $450,000 commitment he was looking for to redevelop the former Case Feed building at 922 Rockport Road.

Gideon Ngobi proposes redeveloping the historic building into a mixed-use project. He anticipates the historic property would be valued at $500,000 with office space on the first floor and a residence for a low- to medium-income family on the second.


In the warehouse area, he would provide space for a community learning center and give one year of free rent for other neighborhood organizations.


The CDA voted to deny the request because Ngobi is not the current owner and because the CDA doesn’t have that much money, Jennifer Petruzello, neighborhood services director for the city, said. The CDA makes recommendations to the council on how the city spends its federal block grant money.


The entire block grant allocation to the city in 2008 was $535,000 and a similar amount is expected in 2009. Members did not feel comfortable funding the project for $450,000, Petruzzello said.


The CDA already has allocated its 2009 budget. It has $57,000 for neighborhood blight elimination projects, and there was some discussion among board members to use that, Petruzzello said. But members wondered how neighborhood groups would pay their rent after the first year, she said.


The CDA is anticipating an additional $145,000 in stimulus money. But the city doesn’t know what strings will be attached to that money, she said.


Staff recommended that Ngobi look for non-city funding and submit a new, reduced proposal in the summer as part of the CDA’s normal allocation process.



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