Ald. Bridget Maniaci wants to make good on a campaign promise to deal with three houses the city of Madison owns at James Madison Park.
"It's been a longstanding neighborhood issue for a number of years," she says. "I wasn't happy with the holding pattern they'd been placed into."
The houses are: Collins House, 702 E. Gorham St., which had been run as a bed-and-breakfast but has been vacant for years, and two current rental properties: Worden House, 640 E. Gorham St., and Ziegelman House, 646 E. Gorham St.
"Overall, they're in good shape," Maniaci says. "But there are definitely repairs and things that need to be made." And so Maniaci is looking at adding an amendment, around $100,000, to the city's capital budget to fix up the houses. "It's just like when anyone else has to sell a house - you have to invest."
She also wants to convene a committee to look at selling the property. Brenda Konkel, whom Maniaci ousted from office in 2009, took her to task on her blog for the idea, writing that in 2008, another committee already came up with recommendations for the sale of the houses. But Maniaci thinks there are unresolved issues that need to be addressed.
"The last committee said sell the structures but not the land," Maniaci says. "There's a lot of concern that banks won't give loans under that situation."
Richard Linster, president of the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association, which is near but does not include James Madison Park, says it's "long overdue that the city took a look at the condition of the properties. I'm sorry the city allowed them to deteriorate to the extent they have."