VIDEO REPORT: Controversial Apartment Complex Remodel Gets Approval

By: Chris Woodard Email
By: Chris Woodard Email

POSTED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 --- 5:30 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

Tonight plans are moving forward on the controversial Nob Hill apartment remodeling process, despite debate.

Both the mayor and police are on the same side of this debate and say this could be a way to take back a troubled neighborhood and cut down on crime.

Sharon Sutfin has lived in the apartments for 6 years.

She says, "There have been a lot of problems out here in the parking lot."

A man was murdered in the parking lot during a drug related robbery in 2010.

Calls for police have increased each of the last four years, though they have gone down a bit over the last few months.

Madison Police Captain Joe Balles says, "It's not in crisis by any stretch but the way it was trending it probably would have been in crisis a year or two down the road had this shot in the arm not taken place."

That shot in the arm is a controversial apartment remodeling process, approved by the city council after a lengthy debate last night.

It will result in fewer units, but more bedrooms.

Sutfin says, "I love Nob Hill but I don't like what they're planning."

She says she doesn't want to deal with the inconvenience of having to switch units during the remodel and doesn't think the improvements will help with crime.

Alder Tim Bruer tried to stop the project.

He says, "When you place large numbers of people on isolated islands, below the poverty line, create poverty pockets, its destined for trouble."

He worries adding three bedroom apartments and increasing the number of low income people in the complex will lead to problems.

He says there aren't enough services nearby to help the people.

Mayor Paul Soglin and police say adding a community center, a computer lab and providing a full time social worker to help people is the type of service that will make a difference.

Soglin says, "It brings contact and direct services."

Soglin says an improved complex and services on site is a great way to provide quality housing for low to moderate income families, especially those with kids.

He'd like to see the model adopted across the city as a way to help community members take control of their own neighborhoods.

He says, "We'll have people there on site who can help make the connections."

Everyone wants the same thing, better living for the people at Nob Hill.

Only time will tell if this remodel is the way to get there.

Plans are to start construction in late January or early February next year. They want to complete construction by the end of 2013.

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