Wisconsin towns will turn old motels, schools into affordable housing

Wisconsin towns will turn old motels, schools into affordable housing

Photo courtesy of Mike Flippo via Shutterstock

By Good Info News Wire

March 4, 2024

Several Wisconsin communities including Ladysmith, Rhinelander, and Elkhart Lake are addressing their workforce housing needs with new revitalization projects. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp (WEDC) has awarded grants to support the conversion of old buildings like schools and motels into affordable rental units. These initiatives aim to meet the growing demand for housing, especially among the workforce, in these smaller communities.

In Ladysmith, the former elementary school is set to be transformed into 40 rental units for workers. WEDC has provided the city with a $200,000 Idle Site Redevelopment (ISR) grant, which completes the funding for this $13 million endeavor. The project is a collaboration between public and private sectors, aiming to address the city’s challenges in attracting workers due to a lack of affordable housing.

WI Towns To Transform Old Motels And Schools Into Affordable Housing

Proposed new building façade at Ladysmith Lindoo School Development. Photo courtesy of WEDC.

The WEDC is also supporting similar projects in other cities. In Rhinelander, a $228,000 grant will enable the conversion of an old motel into a 31-unit apartment building. Meanwhile, in Elkhart Lake, a $200,000 grant will help prepare a former county highway site for two new developments. These projects are anticipated to add 120 rental units at affordable and market rates.

“Housing is a key element of meeting our workforce needs,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. She noted the value of public-private partnerships in overcoming financial challenges and advancing these critical projects.

Alan Christianson, Ladysmith City Administrator, expressed that the WEDC grant will be a game changer for the city, addressing its shortage of workers and lack of affordable, quality housing. The project is expected to provide a significant boost to the city’s housing stock, with a potential impact on local employers’ ability to fill existing positions and consider expansion.

In addition to housing, the Ladysmith project also includes a community center, commercial kitchen, business incubator, meeting rooms, gym, and an ADA-accessible playground. It is estimated to create 133 new jobs and generate $8.3 million in labor income. In Rhinelander, the motel conversion project will also provide space for new businesses, further promoting local economic growth.

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This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Wisconsin towns will turn old motels, schools into affordable housingWisconsin towns will turn old motels, schools into affordable housing

This story was generated in part by AI and edited by The UpNorthNews staff.


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