FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Lothlorien Housing Cooperative Seeks Help With Repair After Fire
MADISON, WI, March 17, 2014 - After a fire last September rendered a popular and historic downtown housing co-operative uninhabitable, community members have created a group called Friends of Lothlorien to reach out for help repairing their home.
Lothlorien is owned by Madison Community Cooperative (MCC), a cooperative organization managing eleven co-operative houses in Madison. At its March 5th board meeting, the board of MCC voted to propose selling the fire-damaged house instead of repairing it, citing a shortfall between insurance payments totalling $392,000, and the expected cost of repairs. The decision would need the approval of two-thirds of MCC membership to go forward. The referendum is scheduled for the week of March 25th.
Lothlorien members are seeking out alternative solutions, guided by the desire to preserve housing diversity downtown while aiming to prove that a fresh look at the numbers, along with independent fundraising and community support, makes repairing feasible.
A recent estimate from Daniels Construction of Madison totaled $554,000, far lower than the $816,920 that MCC maintenance coordinator Michael Carlson originally believed the repairs would cost. Even more money could be saved with the help of the community members who have donated labor. In just two weeks, the Friends of Lothlorien have raised over $23,000 to help repair the house. Lothlorien house members have also committed the house's $38,000 cash reserves at the time of the fire toward the repairs. A tax credit for houses on the historic register, such as Lothlorien, would further reduce the cost of repairs by up to 40%.