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RACINE — The historic Lincoln-King neighborhood will soon be the recipient of $15 million in redevelopment investments intended to increase housing options.

Lincoln-King neighborhood
The City of Racine’s Community Development Authority hosted a public hearing on the Lincoln-King (neighborhood) Redevelopment Plan on Tuesday, June 20, in the City Council chambers. $15 million is slated to be invested in housing in the neighborhood. / Mark Hertzberg for Racine County Eye

The Community Development Authority (CDA) approved the 20-year plan following a public hearing Tuesday evening. 

The city secured a $15 million Neighborhood Investment Fund grant from the state. This grant is part of a broader $200 million initiative announced by Governor Tony Evers in August 2021. The ARPA funds will help support neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

Mayor Cory Mason said the residents of the Lincoln-King neighborhood want what everyone wants: access to a healthy and safe neighborhood.

With the combined benefits of the housing grant and the grants for the health and community centers, the Lincoln-King neighborhood will receive an investment of about $80 million, he pointed out. 

Alderman Marcus West, who represents the 8th aldermanic district, praised the investments, which will help build up the district and get people out of the renting cycle. 

The investments in Lincoln-King are meant to be a catalyst for the revitalization.

“It will give individuals or families the opportunity to either own a brand new home or a home that has been rehabbed to new status,” he said. “I mean, it’s no secret that a lot of homes in the Eighth District has a lot of renters versus homeowners.”

What the plan does 

The plan calls for boosting the housing stock, decreasing blight, and increasing the proportion of owner-occupied homes.

According to the plan documents approved on Tuesday, the CDA intends to: 

  • Acquire and rehabilitate existing housing and build new houses on empty lots. 
  • Acquire properties the county already owns due to tax foreclosure.
  • Acquire houses that have been abandoned and/or are boarded up.
  • Acquire properties in significant disrepair that represent a health and safety hazard either by purchasing these properties or through the condemnation process. 
Lincoln-King neighborhood, Racine, Wisconsin, revitalization
CDA board members Q.A. Shakoor and Alderman Marcus West listen to public comments during Tuesday’s public hearing on the redevelopment of the historic Lincoln-King neighborhood. – Credit: Dee Hölzel

After the houses have been flipped or built, they will be sold back to the community at rates reasonable for the area. The CDA has contracted with two real estate agents to facilitate the sales. 

The money from housing sales will be returned to the CDA to be used in its housing programs.

Lincoln-King Neighborhood
Credit: Community Development Authority

The homes may only be sold to those who plan to occupy the property. The properties will not be sold to landlords, which will potentially be controlled through the deed process. 

Public comments

The public came out in force for Tuesday’s meeting. 

At least two of the public speakers called for the money to be used to help current residents improve their properties.

One speaker said the homeowners in the area do try to keep up their properties, but “we need help from you guys.”

During the meeting, the speakers emphasized an issue in the local area: many rental properties were in disrepair, and the plan did not address this concern. There were repeated complaints about unresponsive city officials and an unintuitive reporting system. The speakers recounted tales of unanswered phone calls, transferring from department to department, and an overall lack of urgency in the city’s response.

Speakers also used the time to request more streetlights and repairs of city streets/alleys. 

There were some issues outside of the CDA’s ability to address, such as the call for a grocery store with healthy food choices. 

Lincoln-King neighborhood, Racine, Wisconsin, revitalization
A colorful floral display adorns the house at 1211 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. / Mark Hertzberg for Racine County Eye


The Community Development Block Grant program provides assistance to low-income residents in their housing repairs. For more information, visit

To access the presentation from Tuesday’s meeting and learn more about the redevelopment of Lincoln-King, please visit the following link.  

Representatives from the CDA will be available to answer questions on Tuesday, July 18, 11 a.m., at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Function of the CDA

According to Wisconsin law, the CDA operates independently of the city. Its primary role is to execute programs and projects that drive urban renewal.

The CDA may also act as a representative of the city in the planning and implementation of community development programs and projects approved by the mayor and common council.

Unlocking Racine

Unlocking Racine is a year-long solutions-based multi-media project which is shedding much-needed light on the housing instability crisis in Racine County. The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is committed to serving our local communities with integrity. We are your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

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