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City, MEDC target lack of local housing

Friday, December 30, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock will be participating in a four-hour strategic planning session with the McCook Economic Development Corp. Housing Committee, MEDC Executive Director Rex Nelson and MEDC Housing Development Director Mary Kircher, Jan. 10.

The session will focus on resolution steps needed to address what Nelson referred to in May as a "chronic housing shortage" that was approaching a crisis level for the community.

Hancock met with the housing committee in December and a preliminary 2012 McCook Housing Work Plan was reviewed during that meeting. The plan identifies primary needs, strategies to address them, and entities involved in the actions. Some areas targeted so far have been motivating and reducing risk to developers, finding funding support, reviewing installation assistance of new streets, water and sewer, and finding appropriate lots.

"I attended the original planning session with Mr. Hancock and I think we had some good ideas come from the meeting. I am looking forward to the Jan. 10 meeting," said Becky Dutcher, Executive Director of the McCook Housing Agency and also a MEDC Housing Committee member.

Hancock said that once an action calendar is developed he anticipates an opportunity for additional input from citizens and housing participants.

The attention given to the housing scenario began with Nelson's comments in May, which led to the City Council approving a $105,000 loan to East Ward Village LLC in July and then asking Hancock in November to evaluate the situation.

The East Ward loan served as the final financing piece needed to begin a $3,902,094 renovation project of the former elementary school lot into 27 units, primarily targeting seniors age 55 and over.

The East Ward Village project broke ground in early November and is targeting fall 2012 for completion.

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Maybe someone needs to talk to the government idiots that buy properties and then tear them down so they can build a parking lot.

-- Posted by Oh what a wonderful day on Sat, Dec 31, 2011, at 12:52 PM

This will be a perfect opportunity to address the bad blood between the most prolific developer in the county and the local governments. By proxy, this will benefit current and future residents. We cannot thrive by burning bridges and holding grudges with individuals as it hurts everyone.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Sun, Jan 1, 2012, at 8:33 PM

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