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Plans Looking Up for Affordable Housing Project

June 19, 2019 11:03 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The City of Rochester has heard back from three groups interested in putting affordable housing on top of the newest parking ramp downtown.

It’s a unique solution to affordable housing that required quite a bit of forward thinking.

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“When the ramp was built, the council had the foresight to put the structural capability in to accommodate such, with the thought that, you know, it would be nice to put affordable housing downtown where we can offer people an opportunity to live close to where they work, not be so reliant on automobiles to get to and from their workplace and other places,” said Terry Spaeth, Rochester's assistant city administrator.

The ramp can hold up to 10 additional floors, and with the Request for Proposal closing last week, the city now has a choice to make.

“The responders were Three Rivers Community Action; Common Bond Communities,;and Standard Communities,” Spaeth said.

While the city expects to make a recommendation to city council on which to choose in August, Dave Dunn, of the Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, said having choices is what the project is all about.

“So many of the jobs downtown are those that aren’t the highest paying jobs in our community, so we have a lot of hospitality workers, a lot of restaurant workers; so if you want to live downtown and are given the option to choose to be there, but with the rents being what they are today, a lot of places aren’t affordable,” Dunn said.

He and Spaeth agree, it would also be good for the downtown area as a whole, reducing parking demands and encouraging those who work and live downtown to rely on other forms of transportation like buses, bikes or even walking.

“For a lot of people that are demanding or really craving that downtown lifestyle, where they maybe don’t need an automobile or they don’t need to go out in the cold in the middle of winter, having that option for them is wonderful,” Dunn said.

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Alice Keefe

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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