Council to consider approving four home projects in central city

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New housing could soon be coming to Janesville’s central city and its outskirts under a few proposals slated for council approval Monday.

Within the city limits, the council will consider approving construction of two new homes and renovation of two others in the Fourth Ward and Look West neighborhoods. Past the city’s edge, the council will consider approving 26 residential lots in the town of Harmony for the Reserve at Stoney Ridge subdivision.

The Stoney Ridge homes are located within the city’s extraterritorial review jurisdiction. That’s why city approval is needed for the site despite not being located within Janesville, according to a city memorandum.

The new construction and renovation comes through a longtime partnership between the city and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development. The city distributes federal money to the agency so the agency can build or rehab homes for low- to moderate-income residents to purchase.

The new homes would be located in the Fourth Ward at 312 Linn St. and 159 Cherry St. Both properties were acquired by the city about a decade ago through the federal neighborhood stabilization program, Housing Services Director Kelly Bedessem said.

The program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, allows municipalities to acquire blighted, foreclosed homes for demolition or rehabilitation. The former homes on Linn and Cherry streets were razed years ago and are the final lots left from the program, she said.

It has taken until now for the city and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development to have the funding and capacity to complete all the lots.

The city will provide $50,000 from various federal funding sources for each home. The nonprofit agency will also contribute its own funds. The two renovation projects are located at 121 N. Washington St. and 615 W. Van Buren St. Janesville is working with the same agency on these, but the city bought the homes through a separate program, she said.

Both homes have been vacant for years. The property on Washington was gutted by a fire several years ago and will be converted from a former two-unit building to single family home, Bedessem said.

Janesville will allocate $45,000 for the Van Buren home and $60,000 for the one on Washington. The city is required to distribute some federal money each year to an agency such as the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development, she said.

The collaboration between the city and nonprofit is invaluable, Bedessem said.

“It’s millions of dollars invested in central city neighborhoods,” she said. “We wouldn’t have the capacity to rehab the amount of houses they’ve done or new construction. It’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of time.”

As for the 26 homes outside city limits, the subdivision is tucked between Milton-Harmony Townline Road, Kennedy Road and the Ice Age Trail. They would be low-density, single-family homes on lots ranging from 1 to 3 acres.

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