By Dave Fidlin


A high-profile building in the heart of Whitewater could soon receive a refresh in a plan that could include a matching grant from the state.

The Common Council on Oct. 20 voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that gives city officials the authority to submit an application for a community development investment, or CDI, grant. The funds, if approved, would come from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

During a discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting, City Manager Cameron Clapper laid out how the funds would be used, and why Whitewater itself is involved in the process.

“Essentially, this grant program is provided and requires that the dollars for the grant go toward a private property owner and be passed through the city,” Clapper said. “So, as a part of the program, we need to pass a resolution. After that, we will go ahead and apply for the grant.”

During the discussion, city officials did not name the applicant. But the CDI grant would be directed toward the so-called White Elephant building, located at 183 W. Main St. The colloquial reference to the building refers to the antique shop that has operated at the spot.

Cathy Anderson, the city’s economic development director, said she has been involved in the discussions with the applicant and the CDI grant.

“I’m very excited,” Anderson said. “This is a private owner who does not live in Whitewater, but has fallen in love with Whitewater. This will be his 11th investment in our community.”

Clapper echoed some of Anderson’s sentiments as he shared how the use of the matching grant could benefit Whitewater’s downtown and the community as a whole.

“Our experience with him, thus far, has demonstrated that he’s very proactive and wanted to do good things for the community,” Clapper said. “We look forward to what could come with this development.”

As noted in the city’s resolution, one of the reasons behind the CDI grant is to “drive downtown redevelopment.” The city’s Community Development Authority will be tasked with actually applying for the grant and passing the funds on to the developer if they are awarded.

Other business

In other business, the Common Council approved John’s Disposal’s request to increase recycling rates in 2021. The city has a longstanding contract with John’s, running through the end of 2023, to haul residents’ trash and recycling.

Next year, John’s will receive an additional $8,160, based on a cost of living increase. City officials are incorporating the increase into the 2021 municipal budget, which is under review and slated for adoption next month.

Additionally, officials heard an update from Clapper on the city’s efforts to recoup costs related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

When the federal CARES Act was adopted this spring, it gave municipalities the ability to track expenses related to the coronavirus and seek reimbursement. Based on tentative figures, Clapper said the city could receive reimbursements near $400,000.


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