New townhomes to be built on Spruce Street

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 07/29/97.

The Paynesville City Council received official word at their Wednesday night meeting that 20 townhomes, ďRidgeview Court,Ē would be erected for moderate income families.

Dave Bell of Freedom Development and Consulting, St. Cloud, updated the council on what had been happening since he last talked with them. He has been working on the project for three years. Freedom Development is the developer with PDC from St. Cloud.

His application to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for low income housing tax credits started in 1995. The first proposal was for the townhomes to be half senior citizen and half family units. The application was revised and turned down a second time because the state said there wasnít a need for more housing in rural Minnesota.

Bellís third application stressed the townhomes were for moderate income families with children. He had letters submitted from local manufacturers explaining the need for affordable housing in the Paynesville area.

The project didnít receive final blessing until it also met architectual review on July 14 at the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency in St. Paul.

ďPersistence paid off,Ē he said, after the application was approved for $123,075 in low income housing tax credits. The use of tax credits helps make the project more feasible and enables the contractors to keep the rent lower.

Bell explained the Ridgeview Court Townhomes would consist of two six-plexes and one eight-plex. The six-plex configuration would have concrete patios, single garages, and a tot lot. The end units would be a rambler style while the four center units would be two stories high with a ground floor bedroom.

Total cost of the project is $1,526,000. The city established a tax increment financing district for the amount of $313,236 in 1995 to show the city supported the project.

Bell hopes to have the townhomes ready for occupancy by spring. Through two government grant/loan programs the rents will be kept affordable. In apartments built with the Super NOFA low interest loan, rent on a two-bedroom unit would be $369 and a three-bedroom unit $449. Other units will rent for less because HOME loan dollars were used. A two-bedroom unit will rent for about $329 and a three-bedroom unit $409. The rent would cover everything from heat to garbage pickup. However, renters are responsible for paying their own electric bills.

Bell said they are targeting medium income families. A four-person family would have an income cap of $25,908.

In other business....
ēThe council reviewed the 1998 street improvement project.
Ron Mergen, public works director, explained the committee discussed the width of the streets and decided to ask for preparation of plans and specifications on the project. ďOnce we have the specifications, weíll know exactly how many trees on various streets will be affected. Everybody likes trees but I need to caution people that once we go through the area installing water and sewer lines, the tree roots will be damaged and chances of survival for many of the large trees is slim,Ē Mergen added.

The public works committee recommends closing the curve on the north edge of the Gazebo Park and seed it to grass. City attorney Bill Spooner said the city will need to research the history under the street to see if the city or the residents get the land back. He added the city would also have to formally vacate that portion of the street.

ēThe council discussed changing the alley behind Lakedale Telephone Company from a one-way alley to both ways. By opening up the alley, it was recommended to eliminate parking 60 feet to the west and 30 feet to the east of the alley on Highway 23. Before discussion or passage can take place, business owners in the area need to be contacted.

ēCarlson explained the status of the sidewalks from the 1996 street project. ďI met with the contractors and concrete suppliers and they acknowledge there is a material problem,Ē Carlson said. ďWe received soft aggregate which absorbs water and thus the crumbling surface. We recommend removing and replacing about 50 percent of the sidewalk on Minnesota Street.Ē

Due to the busy construction season, the council approved waiting until spring to do the project.

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