Veterans Housing

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

The Dane County Board approved Gorman and Co. to redevelop the former Messner Inc. property into a mixed-income apartment building with a focus on veterans and their families.

All but 10 of the 64 apartment units in the development at 1326 E. Washington Ave. would go to veterans’ families making less than 30, 50 or 60 percent of the county medium income. The other units would be leased at a market rate. If no veterans who meet the requirements apply for housing, a family without a veteran could be selected for the units.

Veterans’ peer-support group Dryhootch will run services for the families on the first floor of the building, which is to be called “Valor on Washington.”

The board was originally set to approve the developer early last month but delayed the action to allow the Personnel and Finance Committee to consider an amendment proposed by Sup. Heidi Wegleitner, whose 2nd District includes the site.

Wegleitner had proposed amending the agreement with Gorman and Co. to set aside eight of the units for homeless families on the Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County’s priority list.

She withdrew the amendment because there was concern that a new request for proposals might be needed since the original request didn’t require potential developers to include units specifically for homeless families.

“I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to consider housing homeless families,” Wegleitner said, adding that Gorman representatives seemed interested in doing so.

Register for more free articles
Stay logged in to skip the surveys

Wegleitner also said she hopes the development can be further refined as Gorman applies for city and county funding.

“There’s plenty of process left that can affect this project,” Wegleitner said.

Gorman and Co. was selected by a team of four county staffers and one neighborhood representative who assessed proposals submitted by seven developers.

Neither supervisors nor the public have seen the six other proposals for the site, and a records request by the Wisconsin State Journal was denied. County risk manager Dan Lowndes said terms of competing proposals are not released before a contract is signed because revealing the other proposals could affect the negotiating process.

  • The board also approved a resolution that would require agendas for County Board meetings and all other county committees and commissions to have a masthead that would include questions prompting thought on the racial equity of each item.

The questions in the masthead would be: Who benefits? Who is burdened? Who does not have a voice at the table? How can policymakers mitigate unintended consequences?

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

Subscribe to our Politics email!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.