Senior housing project a win/win deal

And now, in the words of the late Paul Harvey, for the rest of the story.
I commented in this space last week about a Catch 22 challenge facing Aurora, Hamilton County and much of our great state of Nebraska. Having one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates at 3.5 percent is both a blessing and a curse, I noted, because of the difficulty in creates for local business and industry to find, hire and hold on to quality employees. Part of that challenge, I added, is directly related to having affordable housing for a growing workforce.
Before that editorial had even hit the news rack, however, I received an e-mail which put the issue in a different context. This week’s front page story on the latest Cottage Park senior housing development therefore deserves additional comment.
Matt Thomas, president of Dana Point Development Corporation, has invested a great deal of time, effort and money in Aurora over the past decade. His most recent venture is going up now in the form of a 14-unit senior housing complex, designed for folks 55 and older who seek more maintenance-free housing.
This week’s story touts the addition of six more units, phase two of the project, which will be funded in part by the Nebraska Deparment of Economic Development’s Affordable Housing Trust funds. Phase-one units received low-income housing tax credits from the Nebraska Invesment Finance Authority.
My point here is that this project just didn’t happen by itself. It took vision, a combination of resources, and a willingness to take a risk.
Community leaders here figured out how important the housing piece is to community growth a long, long time ago. The for-profit Aurora Construction Enterprise entity and sister not-for-profit Aurora Housing Construction Enterprise entities were created with that reality in mind. Dana Point partnered with AHDC to apply for the latest DED funds, which will help raise the income-level threshhold of potential residents.
The silver lining to this story is that as many as 20 senior individuals or couples could be moving into Cottage Park by early next year, which will make several properties available for younger families. That’s a grand slam home-run in terms of housing development.
Kurt Johnson

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