SD: Meeting housing demandJob creation in three S.D. communities has created the need for more housing
By: Alan Van Ormer, Prairie Business Magazine
Three South Dakota communities are scrambling to assess their needs and potentially build new housing in response to the creation of as many as 1,300 jobs.
More than 1,000 jobs have been added in Aberdeen over the past year because of expansions at Northern Beef Packer LP, Sanford Health, Molded Fiberglass Cos., Midstates Inc., Hub City Inc. and others.
Over the past six months in Vermillion, Masaba Mining Equipment has added 100 jobs, Builders Choice Inc. has added 63 jobs and Navigant Consulting Inc. is adding 120 jobs.
Brookings is experiencing enrollment growth at South Dakota State University, Bel Brands Cheese Inc. is opening a new cheese plant and Larson Manufacturing Co., Daktronics, Twin City Fan Cos. and Falcon Plastics Inc. have all added people.
Al Heuton, executive director for the Brookings Economic Development Corp., says Brooking is not in a crunch at the moment. “We have housing available,” he says. “At this point we are monitoring the situation and looking at where the housing issue is heading.”
Brookings has added almost 1,500 housing units since a housing study was completed in 2007. Low- to moderate-priced houses are needed. The community established two different tax increment financing (TIF) districts to address the issue. A TIF is used for subsidizing redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects.
In the past couple of years, there has been apartment building construction and subdivision activity. Brookings also added 400 lots. Some include the entire infrastructure, while others are just in the plating stage.
“We have the land capacity in place to handle housing growth moving forward,” Heuton says. “Housing inventory has declined but still is at a comfortable level.”
Filling the demand
In Aberdeen, Julie Johnson, executive director of Absolutely!Aberdeen, says the community has created more jobs and is actively finding ways to fill housing demands. She adds that multiple family housing has been a challenge, but the private sector has stepped up. Several units were built during the winter and are getting ready to open now, but more multiple family homes are needed.
Homes Are Possible Inc. has been significant in building single-family homes around Aberdeen. HAPI is adding another housing development and other developers are adding additional lots for multiple family homes.
“We’re also working with communities around our labor shed to see how they may be able to add to their housing stock,” Johnson says.
Vermillion typically has housing for college students and college professors, but now needs to develop middle-range valued homes to fill in the gaps, says Steve Howe, executive director of the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Corp.
“Our existing inventory is low for that range of houses,” he says. “We are opening up lots, working with developers to get them in here and invest, and working with the city to provide infrastructure.”
Vermillion is considering a housing study to determine its needs and is conducting surveys to find out how many people could potentially move to the community. “What we are hearing from employers is that their employees are having a hard time finding homes. We are creating jobs, but money is leaving the community.”
There is land for development within the city limits.
“We have a lot of people we need to accommodate housing for,” Howe says. “In addition to recruitment, we have to retain the businesses we have. People are going elsewhere because of the limitation in housing.”
As we are starting to see growth, we want to make this an attractive place to live, Howe notes. “This is one component that has to be part of a bigger strategy.” SDPB
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