AC commission eyes new senior citizen housing

Sets public hearing to declare several structures unsafe

By CODY GRIESEL

Courier/Traveler

A Missouri-based developer has expressed interest in building an apartment complex aimed at low-income senior citizens on a plot of land connected to Arkansas City’s Veterans Lake.

City manager Nick Hernandez told the Ark City commission during its meeting earlier this week about the proposal he received Tuesday afternoon from Red-Wood Development. The Joplin, Mo., developers sent Hernandez a packet containing blueprints and other information regarding the proposed apartment complex. 

The apartment complex would include around 40 units, with 30 of them being income-based and eight to 10 units would be market-based. The apartments would be aimed at those 55 and older, with base prices ranging from $350 to $450 monthly. Those prices wouldn’t factor in income considerations.

The company also submitted a rough draft of a contract that stipulated what the company wanted from the city and what the developers would bring to table for area served by the housing development.

Red-Wood asked the city to donate the land, located at Sixth Street and West Taylor Avenue, directly east of Veterans Memorial Lake. They also requested to split the cost of a new 8-inch water main from Sixth Street and Taylor Avenue with the city and to have the city remove all of buildings,  pipe and other items stored on the land. Red-Wood did offer to extend the 8-inch sewer line to the construction site.

The developers are offering to let the city keep the land that the Lion’s Club Pavillion is located on and the land part of the walking trail covers. Red-Wood stated in the proposal that they would finish the trail in that area to  make it a fully-complaint ADA trail. That portion of the trail is currently undeveloped.

Red-Wood is also offering to build public restrooms at the location.

The terms of the contract are up for negotiation and Hernandez said he would work on making an agreement with the company at the direction of the commission. 

Red-Wood is seeking a tax abatement or other incentive. Hernandez said he would try to work out a payment in liue of property tax for a 10-year period. That money would go back into improving the Veterans Lake area.

“I was going to suggest a set fee of $20,000 to $30,000 a year,” Hernandez said. “That money would really dress up Veteran’s Lake.”

Under his proposal, the payments  would continue for 10, then the apartments would go back on the tax rolls. the land would have to be rezone for multi-family structures before the city could approve the project.

Commissioner Dan Jurkovich said he supported the idea, but would like to avoid the city being required to pay any money out-of-pocket initially.

Mayor Duane Oestmann said the project would be good for the south end of Ark City and may encourage business and growth in that area.

“We need it … we can get people back into a part of town that is underserved,” Oestmann said.

In other business, the commission:

  • •approved a charter ordinance amending provisions regarding the name, composition, and length of terms of the Convention and Tourism Committee, and amending the possible uses of the Convention and Tourism Fund.
  • • approved the scheduling of a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3 to determine if buildings located at 614 S. Fourth St., 608 S. Fourth St., 413 W. Madison Ave., 421 W. Madison Ave., 617 S. Fourth St. and 1419 S. Summit St. are unsafe and dangerous. 
  • Commissioner Jay Warren asked if the owners of those properties were to make efforts to improve the structures before the hearing date if that would have any effect on the status of the buildings. Hernandez said most of the structures were beyond the point of saving and that city staff should proceed as they have been. Hernandez said the property owners would be able to plead their case at the public hearing.
  •  • approved a resolution authorizing the extension to Dec. 31, 2020, of the 2008 revised Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

 

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