Park Place redevelopment on hold
Sometimes the wheels of progress turn slowly. At least that is the news the Merrill Housing Authority is coming to grips with.
The Housing Authority has been waiting to hear from Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) regarding a tax credit application they submitted in January that would provide the financial means needed to embark on a significant redevelopment project at their Park Place facility. On Thursday, April 23 WHEDA released the list of Tax Credit Award recipients, and unfortunately the Merrill Housing Authority was not one of them.
Scott Kwiecinski, Development Manager with Horizon Design, Build, Manage of Madison which has been working with the Merrill Housing Authority, explains, “This is not unfamiliar territory, unfortunately, as sometimes it takes 2 and 3 application cycles to get a project funded. We remain committed to this project as we believe that it will greatly benefit the Park Place residents and assist with revitalization efforts in the City of Merrill. The good news is that we were very close and feel that we can re-tool some of the scoring items to be in a more competitive position next year.”
Housing Authority Executive Director LaDonna Fermanich states, “While disappointed that we didn’t get approved this time around, I am optimistic that the additional time will ultimately benefit the Housing Authority in the long run. We will gear up to reapply next January and focus on getting the rest of our ducks in a row in the mean time.”
The Housing Authority has been working with the City of Merrill to purchase the former fire station adjacent to the Jenny Towers facilities to create a central office and maintenance facility. While this project is not directly tied to the tax credit application, it still requires approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) before the transaction can be completed. For now, the request is under HUD review.
“The approval for this purchase is a completely different process than the tax credit approval and has a far greater likelihood of happening,” Fermanich stated. “Hopefully, once approved, this additional year will allow the Housing Authority to concentrate its efforts on the fire station acquisition and remodel as well as other Housing Authority priorities and projects in preparation for the hope that next year will produce a different result with their tax credit application.”
The Merrill Housing Authority serves qualified, low-income individuals and families by providing clean, safe and affordable housing at their Park Place and Jenny Towers facilities as well as several family sites throughout the Merrill community. They are accepting applications for all of our facilities. Please call 715-536-7386 to arrange for a tour or visit www.Merrillha.com.