Housing talks pick up

The Tracy EDA last week welcomed Steve Adams, CEO of Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. Adams joined an ongoing discussion about housing and what Tracy can do moving forward to improve the housing landscape. Photo / Per Peterson

By Per Peterson

Will Tracy someday be home to a new 4-plex or 6-plex housing complex?

Questions like that are on the forefront of the minds of people like Tracy Community Development director Jeff Carpenter, and last week, the EDA board welcomed to its meeting a potential future partner to possibly make additional rental housing in Tracy a reality.

The housing discussion is nothing new in Tracy. Lack of housing has been a thorn in the side of people like Carpenter for years, and he hopes developing a partnership with people like Chad Adams, CEO of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, will be the impetus to improving the housing landscape in Tracy.

“If we’re going to move forward with any kind of housing, we need help,” Carpenter said at last Wednesday’s EDA meeting.

Adams said Tracy is not alone in its housing plight; many communities, he said, have similar significant needs and are making a commitment to increase affordable housing prospects.

“This is where the Minnesota Workforce Housing Grant Program would be a great fit for Tracy, whether you work with a private developer, a group of local investors that want to dig into the real estate market, or it could be the EDA itself,” Adams said.

Adams said some communities, including regional centers, haven’t put up new housing projects in two or three decades, while others have seen their EDAs step forward to actually own and manage such projects. Carpenter made it clear that the Tracy EDA, which owns Orchard Lane, wouldn’t be interested in getting back into the management of any future housing project.

“I don’t think we should be in the business of managing,” Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said.

The Minnesota Workforce Housing Grant Program would provide up to 25% of the costs of any new project, with the City or community providing $1 for every $2 being requested. A city’s contribution could involve things like putting up the land for a project, or tax abatements.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.