Housing improvement plans are on City of Beloit council agenda

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BELOIT - Increasing affordable housing options in Beloit has been an early term goal of the current Beloit City Council, and officials soon will hear about ongoing efforts by the city's Community Development Department.

The council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the City Hall Forum.

The city is set to jump into a national landscape by creating two Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas (NSA) in the Merrill and Hackett neighborhoods to boost funding for housing rehabilitation and general code enforcement.

The NRSA additions will alter the city's 2015 to 2019 consolidated plan to address deteriorating properties, vacant or abandoned housing and increasing the number of rental properties and combating unemployment and poverty rates across Beloit.

Both Merrill and Hackett showed a "wide gap in economic prosperity" compared to the city at large, according to the NRSA presentation.

Changes to the consolidated plan will include a public service cap exemption that benefits low-to-moderate income individuals in the NRSA districts. The exemptions will allow community groups to work in both areas to provide more funding and programming opportunities to eligible recipients.

The city plans to add $360,000 from this year's Annual Action Plan in unspent 2016 Community Development Block Grant funding. Another facet of the plan hopes to bring higher income individuals to both areas over time, while complying with NRSA funding requirements that state 51 percent of any designated neighborhood to be low to moderate income.

Through the NRSA and other federally funded programs, the city is in the process of working on multiple housing rehabilitation projects in the 300 to 500 blocks of Highland and Euclid Avenues.

The city received $63,739 for community housing development and $80,736 for city projects on housing rehabilitations, with both allocations being funded by the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The ongoing planning process saw the city renegotiate its HOME agreement with Rock County, and the city anticipates $130,000 in HOME federal funding next year.

Other business:

• The city will vote on approving the sale of land to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) as part of the ongoing Interstate 39/90 and Highway 81 interchange reconstruction projects. The state agency is seeking just over half an acre of the property located at 2001 Gateway Boulevard from the city's current right of way.

• A conditional use permit will be accepted by the council to move along the G5 Brewing Company project set for 1895 Gateway Boulevard. The brewery will include a restaurant, bar and outdoor patio. A possible opening date of May 2018 is listed on the application.

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