County Board approves $700,000 for Sister Bay affordable housing development
by Lily Sweeney, KNOCK
The Door County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the use of $700,000 in federal funding to help fund a new affordable housing development in Sister Bay.
The funding comes from the more than $5.3 million the county is allocated under the American Rescue Plan, a 2021 federal Covid relief law. The 45-unit project, called The Shoals, is scheduled to begin construction in June.
The funding proposal was divided into two resolutions: one granting $500,000 to developer Mosaic Ventures for construction of the development and another granting $200,000 to the Village of Sister Bay for municipal water and sewer related infrastructure necessary for the development.
The total cost of the project is more than $11.5 million. The developer has secured more than $10.4 million in other funding, including more than $6.1 million in tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).
The $200,000 grant to the village was not originally part of the county’s proposals for using the Covid relief funding. It was added after the costs for the water and sewer infrastructure increased from an initial bid in 2020 of $460,000 to a bid last month of $1,071,750.
Both resolutions passed with 19 “yes” votes of the 21 county supervisors. Supervisors Alexis Heim Peter and Dale Vogel were absent.
The votes come after the County Board on Feb. 22 approved a general plan for the county’s use of the Covid relief funding, which informally allocated $1.2 million to affordable housing initiatives. Tuesday’s votes were the final approval for the county’s contribution toward the Sister Bay development.
Marissa Downs of Mosaic Ventures, the project’s developer, answered questions from supervisors at the meeting.
“This commitment of funds will get us to the finish line,” Downs said.
Supervisor Bob Bultman, who represents parts of the towns of Baileys Harbor and Liberty Grove, asked about the project’s environmental soundness. Downs said The Shoals will be built to the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative’s Green Built Homes standards and will implement multiple green technologies.
Downs said the development is required to be maintained as affordable housing for the next 30 years.
“We are not giving this money away, we are using it to address affordable housing,” county administrator Ken Pabich said.
The board on Tuesday also approved using $180,000 of the Covid relief money to provide each county employee with a $100 Destination Door County gift certificate at the end of each quarter of 2022, provided the employee is still employed by the county on the last day of the quarter.
Supervisors said the program comes from a desire to keep employees in Door County as opposed to seeking higher-paying jobs elsewhere.
This resolution also passed with 19 “yes” votes and two absent. Multiple supervisors said they wanted to increase the dollar amount given to each employee, but no one made a motion to change the dollar amount.