By Reann Huber
Madison’s Housing Opportunity Commission gathered on July 14 to catch up on their committees’ recent works and get updates on projects and future plans.
Commission member Judy Senft gave an update on different housing projects the commission is working on, including the near completion of the Silver Lake Court project that is set to be a senior center located on Fifth Street.
“We will get a back door tour of Silver Lakes with city council DDA (Downtown Development Authority) members,” Senft said to the commission. “The city has received 78 inquiries [about the units] and there is a total of 44 available units, and all of those will have to be vetted for income.”
Commission members will be able to view the public facilities at Silver Lakes during this time as all of the units will be getting the last finishes they need to be completed, including painting and carpeting. Move in for the first occupants in Silver Lakes is scheduled for Sep. 1.
Surveys were also sent out by commission member Jeff Miller and the committee he is a part of to get feedback from real estate agents, people who have purchased homes within the past year, and people who purchased in neighboring areas because they could not find what they desired in Madison to get an idea of land use patterns.
“Our focus is future land ideas,” said Miller. “Our first step is to determine where there’s demand. It’s easy to measure demand for existing stock because you just see what people are buying, but it is more difficult to measure demand of what is not there.”
The surveys were extremely extensive and gave a broader idea of what people want for the products that are not readily available in Madison. They collected data on sizing of homes, neighborhood preferences, walkability to local amenities and conveniences, and other various categories.
Next round of surveys will get a better perspective from recent homeowners in Madison and in surrounding areas and will help further develop what the commission members can do to bring more people here.
The commission is also working to bring together the community to help in housing projects for people who might not be able to fix their homes on their own.
Commission member Maureen Ronan discussed that her other committee member, Judy Thomas, was contacted by the Madison Baptist Church to do a work day to help fix up some homes in the area.
The work day occurred the following Saturday after the commission’s meeting, and people were welcome to enjoy lunch at the Gilmore House provided by members of the church. St. James Catholic Church was also contacted and provided $35 per household that had work done on it this past weekend.
The commission will also be holding an open house for the public on Aug. 27 at the Public Safety Complex to discuss any concerns and inquiries they have about the work of the commission. It will be held in a forum format and will take place in two sessions, one from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and the other from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.