The WK Kellogg school building in Nashville has been a focus of potential development for 20 units ranging from studio to 2-bedroom apartment units. This is a project I have been in support of for some time as it has an affordable housing clause that would keep the rents in line and affordable for new teachers and other folks who want to make Nashville their home. The plans have been drawn, a considerable amount of advance money has been invested and the final step is the Castleton Township board engaging in negotiation for a PILOT which is a tax abatement plan for 15-25 years. Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) helps the investors who plan to take this building from a vacant, abandoned nuisance space to a beautiful property recoup their investment. The project has several streams of private and government funding in place, and it would bring a renaissance to our Nashville downtown. There are extensive rules tied to the funding that would maintain the quality of the property for years to come right down to the depth of mulch and maintenance of landscaping to ensure it is a value-added benefit to our community. The board has voted 3-2 to deny the PILOT which essentially stops the project and all of the economic growth and opportunity that comes with it. The Village of Nashville has already negotiated their PILOT agreement with the developers and is in support of the project. Should this project stop, the building sale will fail and the property will remain vacant and continue to fall into disrepair, neglect, and lack of purpose. Additionally, I am concerned that if this fails, it will deter other investors from coming into this area to invest in our community as a vital rural area.
Maple Valley Schools is one of the largest employers in our area and with our declining enrollment, increasing housing opportunities are critical for us to increase our student population as well as provide local, affordable housing for our staff.
If you believe it is important to provide 20 units of new, affordable housing in a historic site that will provide extensive economic benefits to our Valley community as well as create more local options for our staff, families, or other people you know in the area, please put your name on this form as I am going to present to the Castleton Board next week and I want to show them the scope of support for this project, in addition to the economic benefits to our entire community and school district vastly exceeds any tax break the investors would receive which makes the project viable and critical for the growth and progress of our community. If we are not growing, we are contracting and the Valley needs to be a vital and welcoming community. I welcome your support for this project.
You are not obligated to sign the form, but I urge you to consider the materials I have linked here and to lend your support if you believe community development is important to our families and community school system. Please help me to strengthen our community housing options. Your perspective matters. I want to share a large pool of supportive people to the board of Castleton Township next week. The Village of Nashville has already done all of their approvals and this is the final hurdle.
The three documents below have information about what a PILOT (payment in lieu of tax) is as well as the site plans for the project and the scope of how the project benefits our community. It will take you about 5-10 minutes to review.
Dr. Katherine Bertolini
Maple Valley Schools
Petition to Strengthen Community Housing Options