The Madison City Council approved the construction of phase
one of the Allied Drive housing development Tuesday.

After a heated debate, the council approved plans to rebuild
housing units on Allied Drive, a community on the south side of Madison where
safety is a prominent concern.

The council?s approval allows the Community Development
Authorities to apply to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development
Authority for federal tax credits, necessary to fund the project.

?The city is finally paying enough attention to people who
need help,? Ald. Eli Judge, District 8, said. ?I hope we can really carry the
ball across the finish line on this one.?

Janet Piraino, chief of staff for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz,
said it was extremely important to make a decision about the redevelopment plan
at Tuesday?s meeting because the deadline to apply for tax credits is Feb. 1.

The application process for tax credits is arduous, Piraino
said, but the city is cautiously optimistic about the acceptance of the
application. ?If we don?t get the tax credits, we?ll have to regroup,? she

After nearly a year discussing and planning for the redevelopment
of the Allied Drive community, the mayor said it was time for action and added
the council made the right decision, Piraino said.

According to Stuart Levitan, chair of the CDA, the approved
plan is a $25 million project funded with federal low-income housing tax
credits, $8.9 million from the city of Madison and private or nonprofit

The construction would be divided into phase one and phase
two. According to the CDA, phase one will consist of 48 housing units,
available for families with extremely low incomes. Most of the homes will have
three or fewer bedrooms and face the street. Currently, homes in Allied Drive
have almost no visual access to the street.

Phase two consists of the construction of 61 homes also
available for low-income families. Piraino said the city will need to look for
other funding sources like federal funds, state funds or involvement of private
or nonprofit developers to complete phase two.

The city is committed to finding acceptable relocation spots
for the current residents on Allied Drive and covering the expenses, Piraino
said. The city also wants to help rebuild the infrastructure in the Allied
community to prepare the area for development, she added.

?[The development is] not just bricks and mortar,? Piraino
said. ?The mayor hopes it?s a catalyst for change on Allied Drive.?