Fitchburg Alders Introduce Ridgewood Redevelopment Resolution

The Ridgewood Country Club apartment complex is one step closer to redevelopment.

Fitchburg City Council members introduced a Ridgewood resolution Tuesday night.

Ridgewood residents say after months of resident protests, management complaints and numerous fires, finally some good news. But that comes with concern.

Edith Gorski has been a resident at the Ridgewood County Club complex for 16 years. She says, "They're talking about taking down buildings, putting up condos, it's not fair. Are they going to pay for my move to some other place?"

But resident Gene Costello says he's happy about the resolution. "I think it's good. Hopefully the new owners will be more attentive than the previous one."

Costello says his apartment was broken into back in September and after numerous complaints, maintenance still hasn't fixed his broken screen.

That's one of the many examples that lead Fitchburg alders Tom Darcy and Bob Bello to introduce a resolution Tuesday night they hope will change the tides at Ridgewood, with the help of Gorman & Co. Inc.

Darcy says, "This is the first time we're being proactive about the situation at Ridgewood and setting some long-term goals. Hopefully my colleagues will agree with me and we'll have a good discussion tomorrow."

The resolution states "Ridgewood has deteriorated in its physical condition, has had a series of fires, has been cited numerous times for violations of city building and fire codes and has required the city to commit significant resources... that have not been provided by Ridgewood's owners or managers."

But now it looks like the city will commit even more taxpayer dollars.

Darcy says the Wisconsin Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) laws were recently changed to allow blighted areas, like Fitchburg, to use TIF money for essential economic development.

Costello says, "They [Chicago Management Company or CMS] own it and we pay to use it but they're supposed to keep it up."

Gorski adds, "If they [city of Fitchburg] can't step on the company to make changes then we need someone else. But then don't chase us out."

The resolution was referred to Fitchburg's Committee of the Whole for consideration.

Wednesday, Madison-based developer Gary Gorman of Gorman & Co. Inc. will present his plans to that committee.

Alder Darcy says the council also plans to put together a committee of Ridgewood residents to better address their concerns.

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