Federal Housing Program Dollars Have Huge Impact in Davenport Co - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Federal Housing Program Dollars Have Huge Impact in Davenport Community

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It's national Community Development Week. And, Davenport city leaders say there is a lot to celebrate.

It is thanks to federal grants and funding that many of the big housing projects around here have been possible.


Since 2009 alone, about $10-million in federal money has come into the Davenport community, through things like federal Community Development Block Grants, and the HOME and lead hazard control programs.

Those federal dollars have leveraged $50-million in private investment, for renovating and building hundreds of properties in the city.

That in turn has put more than 140 contractors and local businesses to work and created nearly 200 new jobs.

And that all comes back to the federal funding that made the projects possible.

Just look at the Taylor Renaissance Building on Fifteenth Street.

For years, the former school sat vacant and crumbling, attracting vandals, and becoming a real eyesore.

Now, it has been transformed into affordable senior housing, thanks to federal grants and credits.

"This project would not have been possible. This school would still be sitting vacant without windows. And it's repurposed and alive and well because of it," explained Paul Petersen, president of Petersen Plumbing and Heating in Davenport, which did the plumbing work for the Taylor Renaissance rehab.

The impact of those federal dollars doesn't end in the revitalization of this one building. They create a ripple effect in our local economy.

"We had about ten employees. It was a total of about 4,800 hours were worked, all by local people, using local suppliers," Petersen said.

And that money creates a ripple effect in the local neighborhood.

"Part of what happens when you're able to do something like this - take a vacant property and turn it into something as nice as this - it helps stimulate surrounding properties and the neighborhood to do the like," said Nancy Kapp, President and CEO of Renaissance Companies, the developer of the Taylor Renaissance.

"There's been a transformative renewal in this neighborhood," added Bill Boom, Davenport's Third Ward Alderman. "The houses have been painted, the back yards have been cleaned up."

That said, cutting federal spending has become the central buzzword in politics on Capitol Hill.

Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba says cutting this spending would be a big mistake.

"There's a lot of ways they can save money at the federal level. but they shouldn't cut things that actually put people to work and improve communities for the citizens like the people here in Davenport," Gluba said.

Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-2nd Congressional District) agrees.

"What we have to do is look carefully at all the programs. There's no question about that, but where you have a program like this where it has proven its success, where jobs have been created, where people can find low-income housing in a renovated, old building that is now a beautiful building that is very appealing...that's a sound investment and that makes sense," Rep. Loebsack said.

Those federal housing programs are responsible for the sound investment made in this neighborhood that turned the old Taylor School into what many say is a credit to the community.

The developer responsible for bringing new life to the Taylor building, Renaissance Companies, is also in the process of doing the same thing for the old Jackson School building a few blocks away.

They are already accepting applications for the senior housing that is set to open up in that building next month.

If you are over the age of 55 and are interested in renting an apartment in either the Taylor Renaissance building or it's sister project in the old Jackson School building, call 563-323-0901

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