Restoration Creates a Refuge
Jeffris Flats Apartments, Janesville, Wisconsin
When the YWCA of Janesville sought ways to provide housing for victims of domestic abuse, they came up with a creative way to help finance their endeavor. Partnering with a local bank, they would rehabilitate a pair of much-abused apartment buildings. The bank would gain the benefit of the preservation tax credits, while the YWCA would get its housing and day care center.
The buildings, in Janeville's West Milwaukee Street National Register Historic District, were in poor shape and had been altered with snout-like entry vestibules. While the vestibules were functional, they had replaced grand entry stairs, and hid the distinctive central arches. Initially they intended to keep the vestibules for practical reasons, but the promise of much more attractive buildings in their restored original appearance was compelling. So the vestibules were removed and new steps built. The steps have proved popular with residents as a place to sit and visit with neighbors.
Another challenge was the need for access by people using wheelchairs. A small linking addition between the two buildings provided the solution. It houses a new ramp that provides access to an apartment on one side, and a day care center on the other.