Housing becomes hot topic for EDA

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The Spring Valley Economic Development Authority (EDA) kicked off its meeting on a high note as the board learned it had received four new housing incentives, a program it provides in partnership with Spring Valley Public Utilities.

“This is really exciting for the community, for the tax base and for utilities; we have a total of four new construction housing incentives,” economic development director Cathy Enerson told the board.

This would make a total of six incentives for the year, which is two more than budgeted, though according to Enerson, there may be funds available within the budget.

The board would also need to confer with the Public Utilities Commission as it provides the majority of the funding of the incentive from the EDA.

Applications were received from Gene and Mary Halverson for their new home on Crestwood Court, Don Smith at 112 East Fremont Street and two from K5 Properties, LLC, for two Spring Creek patio homes on North Park Lane.

All applications were approved pending extra funding approval from Public Utilities.

Child care shortages

Enerson briefed the board on the latest information on child care she learned at a recent meeting.

She attended the First Children's Finance meeting in Rochester, which highlighted the group's recent study in child care shortages.

The study includes 20 counties within Minnesota and shows there are 8,600 spots, mostly for infants, needed in this area.

According to Enerson, the study looks for those who are on waiting lists or can't find care and they use some of the school data to comprise the study.

“In Spring Valley and Wykoff you have a need for 112 child care slots. Fillmore Central was 64,” Enerson shared.

“In addition, Mower County has a deficit of 1,105 slots. So not only could you draw people from Spring Valley or Wykoff, but also the Grand Meadow or Mower County area.”

It is estimated that if the child care needs were met within the entire study area, there would be a 9 percent increase in women in the workforce.

The EDA is determined to continue efforts in bringing child care to the area.

Housing grant opportunity

Enerson shared there may be a potential opportunity through Minnesota Housing's Workforce Housing Development Program for a two-to-one matching grant for multi-family rental properties.

There are up to $1.9 million in grant or deferred loan funds available through this program.

Enerson noted Spring Valley does fit within the guidelines and she has made several local property owners aware of the opportunity. Any applications will be due by Oct. 11.

“What a great tool for rural communities,” Enerson commented.

Jeff Allman, owner of the Commercial House, attended the meeting to speak with the board about a possible project for his property, along with the site of the former Tamarack Cafe, which collapsed in early 2017.

The project would have a three-story apartment, similar in style to the Commercial House, with 12 units and an elevator to all three floors.

According to Allman, the project, at this point, is estimated at $1.6 million.

The group, along with Mike Bubay, of David Drown Associates, Inc., discussed numerous grants, tools and programs currently available to aid in the cost of the project.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 8:30 a.m.