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Two townhouses in the works

October 11, 2018

In an effort to combat the shortage of housing in Schuyler, a project involving the creation of two townhouses is expected to break ground in the upcoming weeks.

“We are kind of in an upturn here,” Mayor David Reinecke said. “There are a lot of good things coming into Schuyler, and it is one of them.”

During an Oct. 2 Schuyler City Council meeting, council members approved the sale of four lots west of Kracl Meadows owned by the City of Schuyler to Mesner Development, a real estate development and property management firm based in Central City.

Brian Bywater, community housing specialist for Schuyler Community Development, said department officials had to re-plat the property into four lots in order to accommodate the project.

Council members agreed to sell the lots for $100 each to the development company with the stipulation that the units must be ready for sale 18 months after construction begins. If the agreement is violated, the price of each lot would spike to $10,000.

The department is currently finishing up paperwork finalizing the property sales. The goal is for the project to be finished in April.

“The idea is to keep the price down so that it’s sold,” said Schuyler Utility Superintendent Jim McGowen during the meeting.

Each townhouse has two units with each retailing at approximately $159,000.

McGowen said the homes should be available for purchase and not renting purposes.

McGowen said when the sale and agreement are deemed successful, he plans to do the same with other lots owned by his department with hopes of encouraging more land sales for housing projects down the line.

Bywater said this is the first housing project funded through the Rural Workforce Housing grant, which is a result of the Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act, also known as LB518.

The act was established earlier this year by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) to assist rural communities in overcoming housing concerns by providing funds for affordable housing development projects. Schuyler was one in 14 communities to receive funding.

Because of LB518 passage, Schuyler Community Development has a total of $1.7 million available for housing development in town.

According to the 2016 Nebraska Rural Poll conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics in conjunction with the Rural Futures Institute and Nebraska Extension, people living in or near smaller communities are more likely than those living in or near larger communities to believe their town does not have enough of all the housing options listed.

Reinecke said he foresees the grant attracting more housing projects that would ultimately benefit the Schuyler community. He said community members can expect to see construction of an apartment complex begin in the near future on the east side of Schuyler.

Bywater said Schuyler was fortunate to receive funding relatively quickly to jump start the project, though a number of other communities with projects in line are still waiting to receive funding.

“I hope to see more projects like this come in,” Bywater said.

In other board news:

• City administrators will be purchasing a new bus for Schuyler Public Transit to replace an old one with mechanical issues.

• City administrators are working closely with Lloyd and Betty Brichacek to organize an auction of City’s surplus goods, which include items from the old library building in the downtown area.

• Community members can officially make searches on specific topics on the Schuyler Municipal Code of Ordinances online at https://schuylernebraska.net/government/city-of-schuyler/

Natasya Ong is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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