Veterans Housing

A joint project between Dane County, Gorman & Company and Dryhootch would transform the site of the former Messner property into affordable housing targeted at veterans with families.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors delayed selecting a developer Thursday for a housing project for veterans on East Washington Avenue in order to consider designating units specifically for homeless families.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced early this year that Gorman & Co. would demolish the current Messner Inc. building at 1326 E. Washington Ave. and replace it with a five-story building called Valor on Washington.

The proposal, which includes 64 units of affordable and market rate two- and three-bedroom apartments, was selected by a group of four county staff members and a neighborhood representative.

County Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner, District 2, proposed designating eight of the units for homeless families who are on the Homeless Services Consortium community-wide priority list.

“Yes, we can have some big projects like Rethke Terrace and Tree Lane where everyone there is getting support and subsidy and are in permanent supportive housing programs, but we can also do the mixed-income project that does still serve some amount,” Wegleitner said.

Wegleitner said it was important considering the amount of resources the county would be investing in the project to include units for homeless families. Dane County is donating the land for the project and Gorman plans to apply for affordable housing funding through the county.

If there are no families on the priority list at the time one of the units designated for homeless families becomes available, the unit would be filled by the next eligible family, according to Wegleitner's amendment.

Nicole Solheim, development manager for Gorman & Co., said the company is "definitely open to (Wegleitner's) idea of having those units."  

The board referred the resolution to the Personnel & Finance Committee.

“We would like to send this back to committee, so we have a chance to discuss those issues there and provide the public a bit more notice so they can also participate in that discussion,” Supervisor Jenni Dye, District 33, said at the board’s meeting Thursday.

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