Construction ready to start on $5.8M workforce housing

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — The last component needed to start construction on a $5.8 million workforce housing development was put in place Tuesday night.

Huntingburg Common Council members approved vacating Elm Street, which runs in the middle of the former Wagon Works site at Washington and Fifth streets. No one from the public commented on the vacation.

The site, which runs southeast of the intersection and has an official address of 419. N. Washington Street, is being transformed into a 56-unit, workforce housing development. Indianapolis developer Paragus Group will construct 28 studio, 24 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom apartments in three housing units. There will be an additional building on the site that will have a community room. The site will have bike racks, a fenced dog-walking area, a picnic area, a parking space for each apartment and on-site management. Each apartment will have curtains or blinds; a porch, patio or balcony; a garbage disposal; dishwasher; and hookups for cable and for a washer and dryer.

The project received $794,541 in rental housing tax credits in February from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The rent amount for the apartments is limited based on state standards for the tax credits. Rent has been estimated between $230 and $390 for a studio apartment, $470 to $530 for a one-bedroom apartment and $600 for a two-bedroom apartment. The smaller studio apartments will be 468 square feet and the larger ones will be 572 square feet. The smaller one-bedroom apartments will be 728 square feet and the larger ones will be 832 square feet. The two-bedroom apartments will be 936 square feet. Residents will be responsible for their own utilities, which only includes electric, and the owner will provide trash service.

Restrictions attached to receiving the tax credits also dictate that an apartment can have only two people per bedroom. So, the number of people living in a studio or one-bedroom is limited to two people and the number allowed to live in a two-bedroom apartment is four people.

Tenants’ income is also limited by state standards. As of May 1, 2017, the maximum verifiable income is $28,440 for one person, $32,520 for two people, $36,600 for three people and $40,620 for four people.

Tri-Cap, a certified housing development agency, is a general partner in the development and will provide residents various services at no cost, such as high school equivalency classes, parenting classes, vocational training, nutrition courses and energy efficiency classes. There will be more than 25 services to choose from.

Paragus has agreed that it will give enough land east of the site to construct a new Elm Street, Paragus attorney Bill Kaiser told the council Tuesday night. The area that is currently Elm will continue to be a dedicated utility easement, he said.

The tax credits have already been purchased, and the site is ready for construction to start, Kaiser said.

Since the vacation was approved Tuesday, Paragus must wait 30 days before starting construction, Kaiser said.

During the meeting, the council also:

• Added Savanna Bauer, Rayce Jones, Cole Meyer, Narrissa Montes and Chuck Rasche as auxiliary reserve officers with the Huntingburg Police Department, and amended a city ordinance to increase the number of auxiliary reserve officers from 10 to 15. The new auxiliary reserve officers will be sworn in at a later date when all five can attend a meeting, Mayor Denny Spinner said.

• Introduced an ordinance for no parking on Clay Street between Ninth and Church streets.

• Heard from Clerk-Treasurer Tom Dippel that the proposed 2019 budget, which totals $10,780.128, is available online for public viewing at Indiana Gateway, a state site on which governments and agencies utilizing public dollars must file their reports. The website is gateway.ifionline.org. Dippel said that the advertised levy, which is $1.18 per $100 of assessed valuation, is higher than what the levy will end up being. A public hearing for the proposed budget will held at the council’s Sept. 25 meeting; the council will consider adopting the budget at its Oct. 9 meeting. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.

• Were reminded that a public meeting to discuss the city’s stormwater system will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. Commonwealth Engineers will facilitate the meeting and have maps of already-known problem areas. Commonwealth is hoping that people will alert the city of other problem areas at the meeting.

• Gave final approval for establishing the public utility awareness/compliance manager as a full-time position that Kim Howe will fill, and created a part-time clerical position that will be filled. An administrative assistant position currently in the utility department will be kept open but not filled.

• Heard an annual report about Destination Huntingburg’s activities and renewed the city’s annual $20,000 contract with the organization. Sarah Flamion, executive director of the organization, said that Destination Huntingburg has hosted several events over the last year, has created the Huntingburg Entertainment Art Recreation Team, or H.E.A.R.T., and has secured $8,000 in grant funding in 2018. Next year, the organization hopes to continue its current efforts, host a community exchange event with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and work on becoming nationally accredited, Flamion said.




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