Wright County Housing Assessment Underway

Map of the 23 lots at White Fox Landing, infrastructure for which will be under construction throughout summer 2014.

On June 16, Matt Mullins, Vice President of Maxfield Research, met with 20 local interested stakeholders in the Wright County Supervisors’ chambers for a kick-off meeting concerning a county-wide housing assessment study the Minneapolis-based firm has been contracted to produce. The report will assess the housing needs and wants of potential Wright County residents, providing hard data for discussions that have heretofore mostly been rooted in anecdote.  At the meeting, the assembled voiced concerns commonly expressed throughout the last few months about the County’s aging housing stock and local businesses’ new hires opting to live out of county, which have been implicitly verbally linked in much local conversation.

“You’re going to help us get a developer, right?” said Bob Malloy – President of Wright County Economic Development Board and attorney for the City of Goldfield – expressing a bottom-line concern, lamenting that in contrast to now, “25 years ago developers would put up spec houses.”

Mullins was careful to phrase developers’ reluctance in terms of the gaps between costs and potential financial returns. “It’s a planning document and a marketing piece,” he said of the study’s uses. “It’s up to the city authorities [and other involved locals] to go out and pitch that piece.”

“Conservatively, we’ve found it spot-on,” said developer Troy Schrom of Maxfield’s research, suggesting that their assessment would be taken to heart by potential developers. “You see community involvement in the area here,” he said of Wright County, stating that the enthusiasm of local boards and businesses interested him in pursuing developments here.

To make its community more attractive to home builders, the City of Eagle Grove recently earmarked 40 dilapidated properties for demolition. The City of Clarion has been in the process of revising its rental ordinances, and created non-profit developer i2i to ready 23 lots of White Fox Landing for development. Two of those lots were sold at an auction on April 5 with another designated for construction of a spec home.

Read more about the study and the concerns and hopes of those assembled, read the June 19 issue of the Monitor!

Previously, the Monitor published stories in print and online about the basics of the White Fox Landing Developmentthe economics of putting up a home in Clarion, and the city and county’s overall housing situation.