County board approves affordable housing funding

County board approves affordable housing funding
Proposed site for homeless day center

The Dane County Board approved funding Thursday night to redevelop the former Messner Inc. building in downtown Madison into affordable rental housing.

The county purchased the building, located in the 1300 block of East Washington Avenue, in 2015 with the hope of turning it into a day center for the homeless, but in 2016, the county purchased property seven blocks away that officials felt was better suited for the center.

County documents show that county officials felt the property in the 600 block was a better fit since it is closer to other downtown shelters and services.

The county will not build or operate the housing on the Messner site, but plans to work with a private developer.

The county plans to hold a public meeting to gather feedback about the plan before drafting an official request for proposals later this year.

In January, county board chair Sharon Corrigan told News 3 that the county needs to add more than 1,000 affordable housing units to help address homeless and affordability for lower-income residents.