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Wauwatosa denies grants for Mo's Irish Pub, proposed job center

May 4, 2010

Wauwatosa - The city on Tuesday refused to give federal government grants to two applicants, Mo's Irish Pub and a business that ran into problems after receiving federal money several years ago.

The denials by the Economic Development Corp. board means that $169,300 in Community Development Block Grant funds remains available.

"We certainly would be interested in hearing from the local businesses" on how the money should be used, said Nancy Welch, the city's director of community development.

The board will decide when to reopen the application process and whether to adjust priorities on how the money should be used, she said.

Both requests were for more money than the city has to allocate.

Mo's Irish Pub, 10842 W. Blue Mound Road, wanted $280,000 to help build a parking lot, saying it would help create eight jobs by bringing more customers to the bar and restaurant.

A city staff report noted that Mo's owner John Vassallo has not yet acquired one of the two properties that would be used for the parking lot and questioned whether the lot would lead to more hiring.

The other request, for $245,000, was from Brandon Adams of B&CA Properties. He said he wants to create a regional job training and development center at 6330 W. North Ave.

Adams' proposal did not indicate whether he had other money for construction costs, raising the question of whether the project would be done even if the CDGB grant was awarded, the staff report said.

When Adams was given $100,000 in CDBG money in 2005 to gut and rehabilitate the same building, there were problems in following federal regulations in accounting for the money, and the property is currently delinquent on its property taxes, the staff report said.

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