Fitchburg Gets Low-cost Housing

Touring state-of-the-art affordable housing, Catholic Charities and its business partners today officially unveiled the 104-unit Fitchburg Springs development.

Bishop William Bullock said during ceremonies this morning that the development “reflects the social teachings of the Church put into action. It is a measurable witness to Christ, identifying and addressing the needs of the poor in the Diocese of Madison, in a way that protects the basic dignity of all.”

“We responded to our client’s need when we entered into this project,” Brian Cain, executive director of Catholic Charities, said Wednesday. “Out of the 14,000 clients we serve in the diocese, they indicated to us the need for affordable housing.”

Fitchburg Springs, a $6 million project located at 3325 Leopold Way, features a pool, a fitness center and a view of Nine Springs Golf Course.

Some of the units have cathedral ceilings, fireplaces and lofts. Apartment rent will range from $250 to over $750. The property is 50 percent leased.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be rented on a sliding fee scale. A renter must earn up to 60 percent of the county’s median income to qualify.

That income threshold translates into annual incomes of $25,380 for a family of two, $28,560 for three and $31,740 for four.

Tom Capp, director of development at Gorman & Company, another partner in the project, said Wednesday that Fitchburg Springs defied the stereotype of affordable housing.

“It’s not a dowdy, utilitarian box located in a tough neighborhood,” he said.

The design of the complex placed a heavy emphasis on accommodating the needs of people with physical disabilities. Kitchens are wheelchair accessible. The exercise equipment in the fitness center also has been selected to accommodate the disabled, Capp said.

Gary Gorman, president of Gorman & Company, said the most satisfying part of the project “is knowing that the lives of Larry Fishback and Eric Weber, two developmentally disabled men, are improved because of Fitchburg Springs.”

The men, who formerly lived in a group home, can now live more independently, he said.

The Fitchburg Springs project was the first time he had worked in partnership with a nonprofit agency, Gorman said.

“Some business people fear doing business with nonprofit groups because they will move too slowly or not be able to make decisions,” he said. “But we did not experience this. Catholic Charities helped us obtained funding for the project and they have an extensive network.”