Green Bay's RDA revitalizes the community, one property at a time

Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 2:55 PM CDT
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Green Bay’s Redevelopment Authority continues to do its part in helping revitalize neighborhoods.

At the RDA’s meeting Tuesday, they acquired a few more properties throughout the area in hopes of enhancing neighborhoods one property at a time.

An open lot, located at 520 Hubbard Street, was one of the properties acquired by the RDA Tuesday.

“I think the RDA has had a very great history of being aggressive when it comes to property development,” said Kevin Vonck, Green Bay’s development director. “I think we look at opportunities that come up, whether tax foreclosures or nuisance properties that end up vacant and become an eyesore.”

“The objective is to see redevelopment,” said Green Bay Alderman Brian Johnson. “We don’t collect tax base on lots that sit empty. They don’t add or contribute to neighborhood enhancement so we want to see these revitalized and new homes put on them.”

For Johnson, the Hubbard Street lot is the latest in his district to be acquired by the RDA. Just across the street, the RDA already owns the home and is currently working on revitalizing it.

“I think the RDA has been proactive about seizing those opportunities, going in and purchasing properties for a low cost and either a) rehabbing them ourselves or b) working with contractors to do some rehabilitation ,” said Vonck.

“What the RDA does is put together an incentive package to make it attractive for a developer to want to take on a building project such as this that currently may be in an undesirable situation,” said Johnson. ‘Then they would do a request from proposal and then anyone from the public could put in a proposal, score them and the winner is picked.”

Johnson said the hope is to turn the undesirable situation into a positive like another home nearby.

“That was the first home as part of the On Broadway ‘Love here, live here’ initiative. We partnered with the city of Green Bay and they served as financial driver behind that,” said Johnson. “It was a home purchased on foreclosure, it was a beautiful gorgeous home that we were able to revitalize and get a homeowner occupied situation over there.”

“What we see are long-term property tax benefits. If we can take a property, prevent it from falling in disrepair, can get someone in there and provide an owner occupied unit that someone has invested in that neighborhood and make some improvements to that property, we will see increase in tax value and stabilization in the neighborhood,” said Vonck. “In terms of funding, whether block grants or our neighborhood enhancement funds, we want to make sure that we are leading the charge.”

“I think it’s important to recognize that in a lot of our older neighborhoods, they have seen a lot of blight and neglect and unfortunately we haven’t invested in them appropriately,” said Johnson. “So when the city takes over a lot, such as this, the goal is to be the first ones in, the organization that takes the risk in an effort to attract private investment. We are already seeing that in this neighborhood so we are very excited to continue that trend,” said Johnson.