Casper City Council Approves Star Apartments Abatement Funding
Casper City Council voted 8-1 on Tuesday to allocate $480,000 toward asbestos and pest abatement at a blighted downtown apartment building that will be owned by the Casper Housing Authority by the end of this week.
Housing authority officials say they plan to renovate Star Apartments into a mixed-income rental complex that would contain 66 market-rate and public units. The complex would also feature new tenant storage, open space and new retail space when it’s finished.
Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager voted to fund the abatement phase of the project. She says the complex may eventually generate revenue for the city's housing authority.
“This is an excellent opportunity for a new project that’s maybe a little bit innovative for Wyoming,” Schlager said. “It’ll impact that housing issue, but it will also become self-sustaining in a way that (the Casper Housing Authority) can further their own mission of obtaining housing our citizens truly need.”
Schlager, along with councilors Paul Meyer, Paul Bertoglio, Craig Hedquist, Keith Goodenough, Bob Hopkins, Charlie Powell and Daniel Sandoval voted in favor of funding the project. Ward III councilor Steve Cathey was the lone dissenting vote.
Housing authority officials say the abatement project will kick off a long-term, multi-million dollar redevelopment plan for the site. They also say the building will need significant work to meet minimum code requirements.
Schlager doesn’t believe, however, that council will be asked to chip in more money.
“I don’t believe that the city council will necessarily need to give any additional funding,” Schlager said. “I think where we’ll see additional funding come (from) is through … private donations and charity-type donations,” Schlager said.
$200,000 of the $480,000 will come from excess one-cent funds. The other $280,000 will come from general fund reserves.