WHEDA: Governor Doyle Announces Funding for Housing and Small Business in Washburn, Ashland, and Bayfield

Ron Legro, WHEDA, 414-227-2291
Jessica Erickson, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

ASHLAND – Governor Jim Doyle announced today Wisconsin
Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA®) funding for housing and
small business in Washburn, Ashland, and Bayfield.

“I’m working hard to get our economy moving again,” Governor
Doyle said. “In September, I unveiled my ‘Grow Wisconsin’ plan – to compete
at the high end and create good, family supporting jobs. But my economic
development plan doesn’t overlook Wisconsin’s housing needs. Affordable
housing – whether single-family homes or apartment complexes – is integral
to a healthy economy.”

Governor Doyle announced more than $1.5 million in WHEDA
affordable housing tax credits over the next 10 years for the Washburn
Housing Authority. The city will use the tax credits to rehabilitate about
36 scattered site family housing units and 24 elderly housing units at
Autumn Manor.

“These tax credits will ensure decent, affordable homes for
retirees and lower income families in Washburn County well into the future,”
Governor Doyle said.

Governor Doyle also announced a WHEDA $125,000 low-interest
loan to the City of Ashland for neighborhood housing in-fill projects. The
revolving, two percent loan will be renewable every two years. The city
will be able to use the money to build a model home, rehabilitate an
existing residential property or acquire property, as long as the proceeds
are used in an older neighborhood with vacant lots or in areas in need of
residential redevelopment. Proceeds from house sales could be used to pay
off the loan.

“This money will help Ashland’s effort to improve older
neighborhoods,” Governor Doyle said. “The city will decide on the best way
to demonstrate how attractive, affordable new homes and rehabilitated older
homes can attract buyers and strengthen the community.”

The Governor also announced that WHEDA will further assist
Ashland’s in-fill effort by providing the city a $5,000 Neighborhood Paint
and Fix-Up Grant. The grant is targeted to help restore older, distressed
neighborhoods identified by local officials.

“This grant will help Ashland upgrade its neighborhoods and
encourage residents to make improvements,” Governor Doyle said.

Grant funds will be administered by the city on WHEDA’s
behalf. Owner-occupied residences are eligible to receive grants of up to
$300 for exterior paint and $500 for exterior repairs. Non-owner occupied
dwellings are also eligible for grants, but owners of those properties must
supply matching funds.

The grant monies, which must be used within 12 months, can
be matched locally by private and public organizations. Volunteer labor can
be used to leverage the effort. Local suppliers are encouraged to supply
paint and other materials at discount prices.

Governor Doyle also announced a WHEDA Small Business Loan
Guarantee (SBG) for Hurricane Hut in Bayfield.

“This loan guarantee will help Hurricane Hut purchase the
property they’re currently leasing and preserve 14 seasonal jobs at the
business,” Governor Doyle said. “A thriving small business community is
essential to the economy of our state. I’m committed to helping our small
businesses not only survive, but also grow and excel.”

SBG helps Wisconsin businesses by providing a guarantee on
bank loans up to $750,000 ($250,000 for working capital). Without the
guarantee, banks might not be willing to make the loans on the same terms.

Borrowers can use the loan guarantee to expand or acquire a
small business located in Wisconsin, for revolving lines of credit or
permanent working capital, for expenses including land, buildings,
equipment, and inventory, and in some cases, to refinance debt. It can also
be used to start up a day care business, or to start up a business involving
a vacant storefront located in the downtown of most rural communities. The
project must also create or retain jobs.

For more information on WHEDA’s small business programs,
grants, or home loans, call 1-800-334-6873 or visit www.wheda.com.