Money matters dominate Council discussionThe City Council said yes at its meeting Tuesday to loaning Our Neighbors’ Place $240,000 to buy the property at 235 W. Johnson St. that would serve as transitional housing for homeless people.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
City Administrator Scot Simpson said the money comes from River Falls’ housing reserve fund started from a 1988 grant that had been loaned out and will be repaid in eight years.
The loan terms are expected to be: Zero interest if repaid in three years; city has first mortgage on the property; loan given only if ONP raises another $240,000 (or more) in private fundraising; and the closing takes place before the end of 2010.
New Council Member Scott Morrissette said he supports the concept but is concerned about ONP needing to raise that much money, that fast, in this economy. He suggested a 20-year payback term to give ONP more time if needed.
David Trechter spoke on ONP’s behalf and said it had secured a $70,000 grant and was just starting to apply for more. It will also begin a capital campaign soon.
Trechter said the community has shown tremendous support for the project, and the city’s commitment would enable ONP to show potential donors its momentum.
The council discussed Simpson’s cautionary note that River Falls would be in a sticky situation if ONP happened to default on the loan.
Trechter cited research that demonstrates a need for the housing and told the council, “We’re betting on the generosity of this community, and you’re betting against that with these concerns.”
Read more about the Council meeting action in the May 13 print edition of the River Falls Journal.