HUD approves $4.7M loan to City of Kenosha to help build new fire station

KENOSHA -- The City of Kenosha is set to receive a $4.7 million loan to help build a new fire station on the vacant site of the former Bain School.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made the announcement that it is approving the loan on Monday, December 12th.

According to a news release, HUD's Section 108 Loan Guarantee Assistance Program enables local governments to borrow money at reduced interest rates to promote economic development, stimulate job growth and improve public facilities. The Section 108 loan guarantee program allows local governments to transform a small portion of their Community Development Block Grant funds into federally guaranteed loans large enough to pursue physical and economic revitalization projects capable of renewing entire neighborhoods. Such public investment is often necessary to inspire private contributions, to provide seed money or simply to boost confidence private firms and individuals may need to invest in distressed areas.

“HUD’s Loan Guarantee Program can be a powerful public investment tool to drive economic development in underserved areas,” said Antonio R. Riley, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator. “It will be a boost to the City of Kenosha’s ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts, and may provide employment opportunities for residents who need them most as the service area is comprised 67% percent low and moderate income residents.

The proposed fire station will be constructed on the corner of 52nd Street and 22nd Avenue -- the location of the former Bain School that has sat vacant and owned by the city since 2005. The plan is to demolish the existing building in order to construct a new fire station.

City of Kenosha Mayor John Antarimian, said the HUD loan will allow the city to build a central inner-city location to provide fire/EMS services. The plans call for the new fire station to consolidate services of Station 5 at 2125 Washington Road and Station 3 at 2121 Roosevelt Road.

“This consolidation and reallocation of resources will provide improved Fire and EMS services within the Emergency Response Districts where call volume is the highest,” he said. “Levels of service will increase as the new station will have the ability to respond to multiple calls for service at the same time. As an additional benefit, the consolidation and reallocation of resources also will allow for other EMS and Engine Company responses to remain within their respective service areas more frequently.”

The new fire station will service the area bounded by 30th Avenue on the west, Lake Michigan on the east, Washington Road on the north and 75th St. on the south.