The move, which was made at the Tuesday, Oct. 23 meeting and was greeted with applause from the audience, marks the city’s entry into the affordable housing market.
City Senior Projects Manager Tracy Dutson provided an overview for the project, which calls for the eventual construction of 80 units. For now, though, the $1.8 million will be used to purchase the property, which is home to 39 occupied singlewide trailers.
What happens to those 39 families is key to the city’s two-part plan. Phase one is the purchase of the property, which will close sometime in June, said Dutson. In the meantime, tenants will continue to reside at the park and the city will hire a management firm.
The lease purchase agreement comes with a 3.91 percent interest rate and is tax exempt, but the city will likely have to bond for the construction of affordable housing.
The current trailer park tenants will be able to rent one of the units once construction is complete for an average monthly rental rate of $420, which is what they’re paying now, on average, said Dutson.
A redevelopment design has to be completed, zoning questions answered and the city will receive public input as the project moves forward, said Dutson.
Dutson said the purchase price is in line with a recent appraisal the city commissioned. Dutson said a minimum of 80 units was required to make the project feasible, prompting Mayor Emily Niehaus to say she was “really excited, but also super nervous.”
Niehaus wanted assurances the 80-unit mark was obtainable given the city’s codes for required setbacks, mandatory parking and other space-eating issues.