West Allis reaches for an aesthetic Summit with home loan program

Published on: 5/21/2013

West Allis — A housing rehabilitation loan program will try to spruce up one of the oldest neighborhoods in West Allis by offering low-interest loans.

The program area is within a half-mile of Summit Place, where the city has focused its business revitalization efforts to revive the old Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing location in recent years

"The goal is to improve the image of the city," said John Stibal, director of city development.

The program makes it easier for homeowners to qualify for the city rehab loans than for typical bank loans, Stibal said, noting the city has approved $500,000 to capitalize the program.

The program was pioneered several years ago by Kenosha, where "it was very successful," he said.

If the West Allis program experiences similar success, it might be expanded to other neighborhoods. "We'll see how well it works," Stibal said.

If the city achieves its goal, it would further improve the neighborhood that includes Summit Place, 6737 W. Washington St., in the northeast quadrant of the city. The office complex already is the single largest taxpayer in the city, Stibal said, paying $1.5 million per year.

Stibal noted that Summit Place is two-thirds the size of the towering US Bank building in downtown Milwaukee and about 3,000 people go to work there every day.

The site was revitalized, in part, with tax incremental financing, which paid for the cost of improvements using new tax dollars that grew out of the site's heightened property values

"It has been an extremely successful TIF thus far," Stibal said.

— Jane Ford-Stewart