The Merrill Common Council will have a number of decisions to make as it meets Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Fox Point redevelopment
The council will consider proposals for housing redevelopment at 1905 E. 14th St., the former Fox Point site. The city’s Redevelopment Authority is recommending selection of a proposal from Horizon/Merrill Housing Authority.
The city received redevelopment proposals from Horizon and S.C Swiderski LLC of Mosinee. Horizon proposed a 60-unit development in partnership with the Merrill Area Housing Authority. The development would consist of “mixed income” based rent with 51 units rented on an “affordable housing” basis and nine units would be rented at market rate. The development would feature townhome-style units with attached garages constructed beneath the living units. Units would also consist of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom options.
Horizon representative Scott Kwiecinski indicated the Horizon proposal would come with a price tag of $9.8 million, $6.8 million of which being contingent upon approval of Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) tax credits. An $850,000 affordable housing grant would also be included in the financing of the project.
Swiderski’s proposal called for a four-building, 56-unit apartment complex. Two buildings would house 12 units while the remaining two buildings would house 16 units. Both buildings would feature 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, with a market value rent range of $720-995/monthly. Swiderski noted the cost of the development proposal to be in the range of $4 million.
Swiderski’s proposal included a request for a $250,000 development incentive from the city, along with receiving the property at no cost. The Horizon proposal only sought the property at no cost.
Since the property is located in the city’s TID No. 10, taxes paid on the new development would go into the TID fund to pay for future infrastructure improvements. The Swiderski proposal is projected to generate $2,233,418 in tax increment over the lifespan of TID No. 10, more than double the tax increment projected for the Horizon project. Because the Merrill Housing Authority is a tax exempt entity, they would make Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payments to the city, expected to total $1,115,198 over the life of the TID.
Construction of the Horizon proposal would be contingent on the acquisition of tax credits, with the application process to begin in January. If all goes as planned, construction could possibly begin as early as Spring of 2017.
The council will also consider an RDA recommendation to approve a $37,500 Environmental and Demolition Loan for 1003 and 1005 S. Center Ave. (former Club Modern property) secured by mortgage from owners Stephen and Linda Blake. The RDA is recommending approval. This would be the first such TIF loan since the environmental and demolition loan program was adopted by the city in July.
Sale of city land
The council also will consider selling nine acres of property the city owns at 300 S. Alexander St. to C&D Excavating, LLC and DC Disposal for $10,000. The city put out a request for proposals on that property in August and only received the single joint response from C&D Excavating and DC Disposal.
According to City Administrator David Johnson, the city originally purchased the property for use by the street department for a compost pile, wood lot, recycle storage, and snow dump. The city has twice attempted to sell a portion of the property over the past four years, with no takers.
Flashing pedestrian crossing lights
The council will hear a Board of Public Works recommendation to place flashing pedestrian crossing lights are various intersections. The board recommends purchasing three pairs of rectangular rapid flashing beacons to be installed at the following intersections: Sales and East Main streets, Center Avenue and East Sixth Street, and West Main and State streets. The total cost would be just over $8,000.
Conditional Use Permit
The City Plan Commission is recommending approval of a conditional use permit to allow a counseling office to be located at 607 Cedar St. Noreen Salzman is requesting the conditional use permit to operate the counseling office out of the home, where she plans to live. The request drew oppostion from other who live in that neighborhood during a public hearing before the Plan Commission last week.
Festival Grounds Committee
An ordinance to create a Merrill Festival Grounds Committee is also on the council agenda. The committee would consist of three city of Merrill Common Council members, the city administrator, a Rodeo Association representative, a Fair Association representative, and a food vendor representative. In related business, Mayor Bill Bialecki is recommending the appointments of aldermen Rob Norton (chairperson), Tim Meehean and Paul Russell as the city’s representatives on the Festival Grounds Committee.
According to the proposed ordinance, The Festival Grounds Committee (would be) the Merrill governmental entity that manages the Merrill Festival Grounds. The purpose of the Committee is to oversee the marketing, development, and maintenance of the Festival Grounds, and increase its usage.
In other business, the council will consider:
• A draft agreement from the Wisconsin DOT for the city to take over Grand Avenue from Marc Drive to Champagne Street.
•Bids on paving projects.
•A second reading of an ordinance amending off-street parking restrictions in residential areas.