Architect hired to design new workforce housing in Park Rapids
The Hubbard County Board approved spending $43,000 in pre-construction costs for architectural services and $14,700 for civil engineering services on the affordable housing project planned for Park Rapids.
The Hubbard County Board approved $57,700 in new workforce housing development costs on Tuesday.
To boost the local economy and address a shortage of affordable housing, the Heartland Lakes Development Commission (HLDC) has proposed constructing two apartment buildings in Park Rapids. It’s a partnership with the county, Park Rapids School District and city of Park Rapids.
County Administrator Jeff Cadwell said, “Now we’re getting right down to push come to shove and having to pay for things as we think through it.”
HLDC asked the county to release $43,000 in pre-construction costs for architectural services and $14,700 for civil engineering services.
For the project to move forward, a Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF) must be established, a lender and community support must be secured and the county, city and school district must all agree to a 15-year tax abatement.
The Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority owns property adjacent to the Meadow’s Edge Apartments and Meadow View Apartments at 317 Career Path. The new housing complex will have a total of 58 units.
Last month, the Park Rapids School Board approved a 15-year tax abatement on the property off Career Path where HLDC proposes to develop the family and workforce housing. Mary Thompson, executive director of the HLDC, was making similar requests of the city and county.
Cadwell reminded county commissioners that the 2023 county budget has $500,000 set aside for economic development.
“The only real placeholder we had relative to economic development was $300,000, basically as seed money for this housing project,” he said, which includes establishing a LHTF.
Cadwell said he recently spoke with Thompson. “They are working diligently to put the schedules together for the abatement process, the bidding process and the permitting process, and a construction date that actually gets these things built in 2023,” he reported. “We’re up against a deadline, but we still think they can happen.”
Cadwell said the county will likely be asked to provide collateral or a commitment toward securing financing that the project requires.
The board unanimously approved the two expenditures. Lucachick Architecture of Bemidji will design a two-story, L-shaped apartment building with a community area. Structural engineering will be provided by Schik Engineering of New York Mills. Freeberg and Grund of Bemidji are completing civil engineering services.