Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Coalition criticizes cultural district proposal - in Milwaukee

JS Online: Coalition criticizes cultural district proposal" ... The Center for Housing Policy in Washington, D.C., reported that housing prices rose 10 times faster than average wages over the previous 18 months.

Get a raise in recent times?

Get a bump in home equity in recent times?

We've got weirdness with our Cultural District. Our Cultural District is getting into housing, but not low-cost homes. Rather, expensive housing. And, the Pgh Ballet is going to play recorded music. It lays off the musicians. So, we'll have a cultural district that is void of culture and becomes a place that musicans and actors can't afford to reside within.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coalition criticizes cultural district proposal
Affordable housing essential, they say


Milwaukee Public Museum Director Dan Finley's call for a cultural district to fund arts and entertainment drew criticism Tuesday when affordable housing advocates suggested it's indicative of the community's misplaced priorities.

About two dozen members of the Housing Trust Fund Coalition gathered outside the Milwaukee Theatre, whose $42 million publicly subsidized renovation was completed last year, to promote a trust fund that would help pay for affordable housing in the city of Milwaukee.

In construction costs alone, $602 million in public and private money has been committed to Miller Park, the Bradley Center, Milwaukee Theatre and the renovation of City Hall, said coalition member Mike Soika, who directs the YMCA's Community Development Center.

Several other venues, including the Milwaukee County Zoo and parks system, the Performing Arts Center and the Wisconsin Center District, receive public subsidies totaling $44.5 million annually, he said.

"As important as our cultural amenities are, it is equally important to ensure that poor people have adequate housing," Soika said after the demonstration.

The coalition is working with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Ald. Michael Murphy in an effort to establish a trust fund that would help finance low- and moderate-income housing in the city. Typically, trust fund dollars are used to bring down the price of construction, making the properties more affordable, Soika said.

According to the coalition, such projects generate jobs, fees and, except in the case of non-profits, tax revenue in the community.

"For every one dollar spent by a housing trust fund, another five to 10 dollars is invested by mortgage companies, banks and foundations," Soika said, citing a recent study by the Washington-based Center for Community Change.

Construction of affordable housing is "not only a social good but an economic good."

The demonstration came on the same day that the National Association of Realtors reported that the median price of a single-family home topped $200,000 in Milwaukee and the nation in June.

Last week, the Center for Housing Policy in Washington, D.C., reported that housing prices rose 10 times faster than average wages over the previous 18 months.

The Trust Fund Coalition said Tuesday that workers in only four of 23 of the fastest growing jobs in Wisconsin earned enough to pay for a two-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee and that 11 earned enough for a one-bedroom apartment, based on data from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Center for Housing Policy.