Community buy-in a critical ingredient on housing project

“If you build it, they will come.”
That famous line from the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” reflects a common sentiment in rural Nebraska regarding the need for more affordable housing. It’s a critical piece to the economic development puzzle, for without a place to live communities simply can’t welcome in new residents and employees. Good luck trying to recruit new businesses without a local labor pool.
The project about to unfold on Matson Street will provide 10 entry-level homes, which could be move-in ready by September. It’s a good bet those homes will be snatched up quickly, drastically changing the look and feel of Aurora’s western edge almost overnight, especially when combined with the 23-lot Streeter 1st Subdivision. Now that’s exciting!
Nearly every rural town in Nebraska would love to see that kind of development, but the cost and risks involved make it a monumental challenge. That’s where Aurora’s community-based approach, driven by visionary leadership and volunteer manpower, make all the difference. The Streeter LLC board and Aurora Development Corporation deserve credit for addressing a most pressing need.
This $1.6 million project, which based on current pricing trends is actually worth far, far more than that, simply would not have happened without local leaders, foundations, contractors and subcontractors all committed to the same goal. Profit was not the motive, but rather, helping our community grow.
The icing on the cake for this particular project is a partnership with BonnaVilla Homes, a Chief Industries entity which has been anchored here since 1970. Company leaders saw this venture as an opportunity to help provide much-needed entry level housing, while also creating a showcase of their finished product just a quarter mile away from the plant where the homes will be built.
This subdivision will soon become a very visible, classy feather in the cap for one of Aurora’s largest employers as well as a blueprint for other rural communities to follow. It’s not an easy model to duplicate, but it’s proof positive that it can be done.
Aurora has long been known as a progressive community. Last week’s breaking news regarding the new Streeter 2nd Subdivision is the latest example as to why.
Kurt Johnson

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