Menasha set to reinvest into its neighborhoods through new housing initiative

Published: Apr. 7, 2019 at 1:55 PM CDT
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The city of Menasha is taking the initiative to reinvest in its neighborhoods through the “Strong Neighborhoods Menasha Housing Initiative.”

City leaders say the average home in Menasha is roughly 53 years old.

“These older homes often times depreciate in value or often times get converted into rental rates,” said Sam Schroeder, director of community development.

The initiative will allow homeowners and first time home buyers to take advantage of grants and loans to give their property a face-lift.

“This program is designed to not only maintain home ownership by assisting homeowners who maybe couldn't quite do that maintenance project...maybe it needs new windows, new roof, and it gives us a tool to allow them to reinvest,” said Schroder.

The initiative also gives people incentives to ditch their rental property and feel secure buying their own home.

“The downtown region has a current rental rate of roughly 70 percent. So, one of the things the program is designed to do is try to diversify that market a little more; encourage home ownership,” said Schroder.

Not only will the initiative help homeowners, but it will also give the city a tool to revamp blighted properties.

“Maybe it's acquiring that, maybe it's raising it and then working with a new contractor to fill that gap and put a new house in there,” said Schroder.

City leaders hope this initiative goes beyond just fixing up homes. They hope it encourages people to move-in and stay longer.

“It will increase stability within our city and I think that's important to increase community pride, as well as to help increase test scores and opportunities for kids in our school system,” said Menasha Mayor, Don Merkes.

Strong Neighborhoods will be financed through a TIF financing law known as “Affordable Housing Extension.” It allows the extension of a TIF district to benefit a municipality’s housing stock.

Roughly $700,000 is set aside for the program over 3-5 years.

Funding will become available on January 1, 2020.