By Tim Linscott
There is a lot of work to be done yet in order to meet the housing needs in Grant, however, the Grant City Council and Mayor Mike Wyatt have begun looking to the horizon.
Wyatt addressed the housing issue with the council at the May 28 council meeting with what he sees as the future of housing developments in Grant.
Wyatt first quantified all statements as preliminary and was just him ‘working some numbers around.’
“There are a lot of factors that still need to be taken into account and a lot of numbers that aren’t fully known yet, but this is kind of how I see things right now,” Wyatt said to the council.
Earlier in the meeting the city took measures to ensure the longevity of housing projects by approving the appointments of members of the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA).
The CRA board will use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help start developments as it uses future gains in property taxes to subsidize current improvements. The CRA is a separate entity from the city.
The members of the CRA committee will be Doug Beck (two-year term), Jeanie Daiss (one-year term), Kasey Kroeker (three-year term), Tobin Buchanan (four-year term) and Kevin Poppe (five-year term).
The two main pieces of land Wyatt would like the city to consider purchasing and develop are north of Grant and owned by Gaylord Bishop and Marvin Stumpf. The Stumpf property is north of east Fourth Street and the Bishop land is east of Sixth through Eighth streets in Grant.
One or both of the pieces of land are being considered for development.
The Stumpf property has 11.75 acres and Wyatt figured the city could buy the land for roughly $88,000 with another $97,000 in water lines and $96,000 in sewer lines. The cost estimate Wyatt figured for the streets, curb and gutters is around $200,000. The total project would be around $545,325, including $64,000 for electrical work.
The cost per acre estimate was figured, according to Wyatt, purely for planning purposes.
Figuring lots that were 140 feet by 200 feet deep, 10 sites could be developed with the city receiving between $200 and $300 per year in taxes before development.
Wyatt figured that if all 10 sites were sold, within 15 years the city would be able to turn a small profit from the addition and be able to put the funds back into the CRA to develop more areas of the community.
“In my thought process, you take a $250,000 house on 10 sites and the real estate appreciation would be $4,000 per site per year (after development),” Wyatt said. “That is $40,000 a year the city would receive and over 15 years that is $600,000 made.”
The Bishop property is 16 acres and Wyatt explained it would take $120,000 to buy the land, $120,000 to install water and sewer lines, $64,000 for electrical lines and $200,000 for street, curb and gutter. The grand total for the project, in Wyatt’s estimation is $440,000 to get the project going on the Bishop land.
Fourteen sites could be developed, according to Wyatt, using the same dimensions as the Stumpf property and using the same $250,000 figure for homes, the city could stand to make $56,000 per year. Over 15 years that could generate $840,000, nearly doubling the cost of the project in profit for the municipality.
Adding up to $200,000 a project may not be a lot in the grand scope of solving the issue of housing in Grant, however, Wyatt feels adding any amount to help develop the city for the future is better than nothing.
Several key factors that still need to be resolved include whether the water and sewer lines in the area can be tapped into.
“Can we tap into the main on Logan or do we have to go to Hancock to get proper water lines,?” Wyatt asked the council. “It’s an unknown with the project, I am not sure where we land.”
Wyatt warned the council that there could be risk involved with this initiative and urged council members to do their homework.
If no lots sell or developments become a reality, servicing that debt will be a priority to the municipality. However, Wyatt is taking history as a factor in the development of housing in Grant.
He explained that starting in 1975 when Grassland Ridge, Stephenson and Salsman additions were started locally, in under 15 years the developments were full. Thirteen houses were built at Grassland Ridge from 1975 to 1980. Within the time frame of under 15 years, 25 houses were added to the municipality.
If the city can break even and be able to pay off the debt with the end result, Wyatt feels it is a win-win for Grant.
Grant City Administrator Dana Harris agrees that the city is not being overly aggressive with the project.
“There is a lot of potential to get a sub-division. We’re not getting crazy, but we can do something worthwhile,” Harris said.
Wyatt reiterated that the information presented is merely for discussion purposes.
“A lot of this is rough information at this point in time,” Wyatt said.