A McPherson County Housing Coalition project was recently approved for tax credits for a $6 million low-income housing development.

A McPherson County Housing Coalition project was recently approved for tax credits for a $6 million low-income housing development.
The tax credits are from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation and are pass-through dollars from the federal government.
The development, which has been dubbed Prairie Pointe, will be located south of Avenue A along Genesis Drive near the new water tower, which is in the Barnstormers Addition.
It will be comprised of duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.
The rent on the units will range from $513 to $695 per unit depending on the number of bedrooms and the square footage. The units will vary in size from 950 to 1,100 square feet, and each unit will have a one-car garage.
The coalition does not anticipate pets will be allowed.
Ground will be broken on the project in August with the first phase of the units likely open by the first of the year. The developer anticipates having the entire project completed by May 2015.
Applications will be taken closer to the completion of the first phase of units. Applicants will have to income qualify for the apartments. However, Chris Goodson, Housing Coalition executive director, said renters in need of housing should not count themselves out.
The income qualifications will be based on a percentage of the McPherson median income, which is higher than that of most areas in the state. Household size and some personal expenses will be taken into account when applications are considered, she said.
The units will be all electric, and made as energy efficient as possible. Goodson said some families may see considerable savings in utility bills if they have been living in an older apartment or home.
Plans for the development also include a club house, office for the Housing Coalition, playground and community garden.
The developer on the project is Prairie Fire of Overland Park. It will be co-owner of the project with the Housing Coalition. The development will be managed locally by the Housing Coalition.
Goodson said the income from the housing development will be used to hire staff for other projects the coalition will be doing in the community.
The coalition will be using the city’s rural housing incentive district program to develop the project.
The designation allows the majority of the new property tax from the development to be used to pay for infrastructure projects needed to develop the housing, said Nick Gregory, city manager. Some of the items for which the developer can be reimbursed include streets, sanitary sewer and storm sewer.
The city is anticipated to take up a resolution to set a public hearing on RHID at its meeting Tuesday.
Goodson said the RHID is key to the project.
“When we are doing a low-income housing, every dollar counts,” she said. “We want to keep the cost low so the units will be places families will be able to afford.”
The Housing Coalition has been working on this project for several years, and finally was approved for tax credits on its third attempt.
City officials, coalition officials and advocates for low-income families have been concerned for some time about the lack of affordable housing in McPherson. Research conducted by Go McPherson indicated a significant portion of the McPherson workforce is living outside the city, many of whom said in a survey the lack of housing resulted in them deciding to live elsewhere and commute.
The city has taken several steps, including creating the RHIDs, to make McPherson a more attractive place for developers to build.
McPherson Mayor Tom Brown said he said he thought the new development plus another project in an RHID the city has approved will improve the housing situation in the city.
“All of the studies show we are way short on housing,” he said. “These two projects we have OKed will be a start, but we are still way short of what we need to solve the problem.”
Goodson said the housing is badly needed in the community. She said the new units will provide housing at reasonable rents, with low utilities and be comfortable places for families to live.
“I think this will be a game changer for a lot of people,” Goodson said. “We are really excited about that.”