The on-again, off-again Taylor School renovation project appears to be on again.
Wednesday night, Davenport aldermen voted unanimously to use a mix of federal HOME funding as well as Community Development Block Grant housing rehab and economic development dollars to fill a financing gap faced by the developer.
Earlier in the year, the project appeared ready to go as the Minneapolis-based Gandolf Group was awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Iowa Finance Authority to help pay for the $6.3 million historic rehabilitation. But the downturn in the national housing market has drastically reduced the value of the tax credits, creating a $1 million funding gap.
The resolution will earmark $600,000 in HOME funding and $400,000 in CDBG funding for the school, which the developer plans to convert into affordable senior housing.
City staff — who recommended the the plan — noted it would use already budgeted federal funds. And while it would force the city to cancel its spring application for HOME funds, it would not take money away from any existing projects.
“This is a very important project for the Taylor Heights area,” said Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, who met with members of the neighborhood association. “They were very happy the City Council is stepping up to solve this funding gap problem.”
In other business Tuesday night, the council passed a resolution supporting the Davenport Public Library’s decision to seek a state Community Attraction and Tourism grant application to help fund an Eastern Avenue branch.
Library Director LaWanda Roudebush said the library board will seek a $1.2 million grant to help pay for the estimated $8 million building cost.
The Friends of the Library group has been tasked with coming up with $3.2 million in matching funds to assist the city, but it had only around $200,000 in private money as of last February. Roudebush said the Friends plan an aggressive fundraising effort, but noted state help would be a great boon.
The Scott County Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution in support of the CAT grant.
Tory Brecht can be contacted at (563) 383-2329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.