(Nebraska City) — Plans designating space for a new workforce housing initiative in the Nebraska city cleared the final hurdle Monday night.
By unanimous vote, the Nebraska City Council approved the third and final reading and passed an ordinance to purchase approximately 27 acres of property near CHI Health St. Mary’s Hospital, which would contain a subdivision of 40 housing units for the workforce for $460,000. Speaking on KMA’s “Morning Line” show Tuesday morning, Nebraska City Mayor Bryan Bequette said the project began after the topic was a significant concern for residents of a series from town halls on how best to use the city’s $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. . Bequette says several factors played into the selection of the property.
“It was one of the lowest prices, but of course looking at the working the land – we’re going to have to do some, but not as much as other areas we’ve seen – and then the proximity to our current and existing utility structures in order to reduce development costs,” Bequette said. blowing in the middle of winter, know people are going to want to grow trees real fast, because it can get a little cool up there. But it’s a beautiful property with great views.”
The mayor adds that the plan is to purchase the property in early October. Bequette says the city has focused a lot on low-to-moderate income housing. However, even large employers approached the city to provide more housing for the workforce.
“Our employers have told us that they would like some of their employees to be able to choose from a housing stock when they hire them, and they might be able to attract more employees if they had the choice of living in the city. where they work,” Bequette said. “Otoe County on the latest demographics, about 2-3,000 people commute into the county every day, but unfortunately about the same number of trips. Of course, when you’re really close to Lincoln and d ‘Omaha, you’re gonna have this.’
However, the proposal has not come without some hesitation from residents – some question why the city should be involved in stimulating economic growth. But, Bequette says, the significant increase in upfront construction costs has set a new precedent.
Additionally, residents along Morgan Drive, who are said to have the development on both sides of their home, have also raised concerns.
“Questions about ‘will the traffic increase more or the speed’ as someone pointed out that there are about 24 children living on the streets – it’s a dead end at the moment and there’s already people crossing it too fast, and once it’s a if we design it as a street of continuity, what about the speed, “said Bequette. “They fear that the houses we build are fair to their people so that the value of their property does not fall.”
However, Bequette notes that the city is somewhat regulated under ARPA funding, as homes cannot exceed a cost of $325,000 to qualify as “workforce housing.” But, he says, the door has already been opened for possible adjustments.
“The good news is that the state is looking at construction costs and their effects, and in the last year they’ve already collected that $50,000,” Bequette said. “It started at $275,000, but considering inflation and building costs, the state said ‘no, labor housing for the rural area we’re in is $325 000 dollars”.
Bequette says the next steps will be to issue a request for proposals to companies interested in designing the project. You can listen to Bryan Bequette’s full interview below.