A housing project, designed by the Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to be affordable to the workforce, opened Wednesday for a sneak peak.

Invited community members had the opportunity to tour the two-level, 28-unit Meadow View Apartments as contractors added finishing touches. The building, located across Career Path from the Salvage Depot, is scheduled to open for occupancy on Jan. 1, 2020.

According to Carolyn Pfeifer with the HRA, prospective residence will have a choice of 17 identical two-bedroom apartments, eight identical three-bedroom ones, two handicap-accessible one-bedroom apartments and one additional one-bedroom.

All units are priced between $650 and $800 per month. “It includes heat, water, sewer, garbage and internet,” said Pfeifer. Residents do pay for electricity, she said, “but everything’s energy efficient and energy rated, so it should be pretty inexpensive to run the apartment.”

Visitors viewed apartments floored with a laminate designed to look like wood and an open floor plan, with a kitchen island separating the cooking area from a living and dining area and bedrooms and bathrooms opening directly off it.

The HRA office will also be moving in on the ground floor of the building, probably in about two weeks, Pfeifer said.

“We are taking applications,” she said, directing anyone interested to call her at 732-9118 or visit her in the economic development office on the third floor of the Hubbard County Courthouse.

“I have five applications that I’m processing at this time,” she said, adding that she planned to start showing the apartments to potential renters later in the week. She said she hopes the building will be fully occupied by the end of January.

Michael Weiher with BOD Construction in Bemidji, the general contractor on the project, recalled that work started in June and is on schedule for completion by the end of December.

Describing the project as “really great,” Weiher said, “Everybody in Park Rapids has been fantastic to work with. Your building inspector (Brad Bail) is awesome.”

Pfeifer said there a second apartment building could go up, if the need is great enough. If that happens, it would be located south of the current Meadow View building, and would only require one additional row of parking spaces added to the area already paved.

“We actually made it big enough that it would fit (the cars for) half of a second apartment building,” said Pfeifer.

She noted that Mary Thompson, who serves as the county’s HRA director, has said she will work with the city to get playground equipment for a nearby park that their organization dedicated during the permitting process, but this will probably take two to three years.

Pfeifer said an extension of Charles Street from the Walmart parking lot to Career Path is a “something we’re considering with a second apartment building.” It wasn’t in the plans when they applied for grant funding to erect the first building, she said, but “now that we know that it needs to be done, if we do a second building, that will be part of the cost” in their grant application for Building 2.

The Meadow View project was funded in part by a $550,000 Minnesota Housing Finance grant for workforce housing development.