Would Iowa City be willing to make an investment in affordable housing that pays off within two years and continues to generate revenue for the next 50 years? Apparently not since the city council voted against that proposition when they turned down Kevin Monson’s project to build 72 workforce housing units. Forget for the moment that these downtown occupants will buy groceries, frequent the restaurants and buy retail goods all within a short walking distance of their homes.
At what point do we decide that it is more important to use that revenue to support the senior center, the Festival of the Arts, or the Englert than to adhere to a fossilized ideology that excoriates development regardless of its merits? This denial of the Monson project is not progressive. It is what regressives do when they run out of ideas.
As I learned from Jim Throgmorton, adding to the housing base creates added supply and added supply relieves the pressures on the low end of the housing cost spectrum which makes more affordable housing more available. What is more, it is the most cost effective way to use our heavy investment in street repairs, sanitary sewer, public art and our parking.
I am losing confidence in Throgmorton’s leadership. It is important that everyone understands the interdependence between tax base and quality of life.