In approving several property tax breaks this week, City Council members supported welcome projects to expand employment at three important local companies – Sweetwater Sound, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance and International Paper. But the tax abatement that many residents of the near-southwest side will welcome most will help advance plans to demolish the long-empty Duemling Clinic Building on Home Avenue just off Fairfield Avenue to build not a factory but housing for older teens who are aging out of foster care.
The tax break of $807,000 is more than worth the $5.2 million investment in the area that was once home to Lutheran Hospital. And the housing is badly needed: State officials and childrens advocates alike have pointed to the problems many former foster children incur when they turn 18 and leave the foster care system, often lacking resources and education.
The project, first announced last fall, is the result of collaboration among city and state government, social services agencies and private business. The developer is Ideal Suburban Homes, which also developed the Renaissance Pointe neighborhood housing project.