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Rochester City Council Approves Rezoning, Plans for Old Gage East Building

Updated: 06/03/2014 6:29 AM
Created: 06/02/2014 11:13 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) --   Many homeless families and youth in Rochester will soon have a new place to call home. Monday night, the Rochester City Council cleared the way for a new low income apartment complex to be built on the Gage East property.

ABC 6 News was at the meeting, where several people voiced differing opinions on the issue.

"I wanted to express my support for the development of Gage East,” said Rochester Schools homeless liaison, Melissa Brandt.

"It concerns me,” said Jim Hines, who lives in the neighborhood. “I think that there's still room to put some restrictions or at least think about some other stuff instead of dropping 25 more young adults into this neighborhood right at the end of our block,” he said.

But Monday night, the city council voted unanimously in favor of both rezoning the Gage East property into multi-unit housing and the development plan for the new low income housing.

"I do hear your concerns, but that's about as far as I can go. I believe that turning our backs on those kids is far riskier than providing them opportunities and services,” said City Councilman, Michael Wojcik.

Center City Housing plans to build a 55-unit apartment building, separate from Gage East, that will house youth ages 16-21 and families with children. The old elementary school will become some sort of recreational center.

As we've reported, last month the Rochester School Board voted to sell the building for $1.3 million. Although some living in the area have concerns, Monday, the city ultimately made the final decision.

"This is a risk, I understand, this is going to be a whole new game for all of you, but please give them a chance and I think you'll find out you'll be pleasantly surprised,” said City Councilman, Mark Bilderback.

There’s still lots of work to be done. Center City Housing will now apply for low income tax credits to help fund the project. They hope to start construction sometime next year.