Addressing housing needs
A proposal by a Canadian housing developer and backed by the Rugby Area Job Development Authority for a 14-unit housing complex in Rugby tailored for seniors fell through earlier this year, but that isn’t deterring the JDA from revisiting the issue of housing needs in the community.
“Housing is an important tie-in with economic development and community development,’ said Brenda Foster, executive director of the JDA.
The JDA this month will submit a request for proposals from in-state firms that specialize in housing demand analysis. The next step would be to accept a proposal and eventually receive data on what the housing needs are in Rugby now and in the future.
A housing needs study was conducted several years ago and that revealed more senior-style living as well as more single family dwellings are needed.
Those types of housing options are still in demand, Foster acknowledged, but a new study will give a more current picture of housing needs based on the current population demographics. It will also provide incentive programs that could be introduced to spur residential and senior-style housing development.
That, of course, is the key, finding housing developers willing to make that investment and finding occupants.
JDA and city officials understand that senior-style housing is important for a number of reasons.
As residents get older, they often are looking to live in smaller dwellings, and prefer housing that is on one level and provides unique features and services. Senior housing provides those amenities.
If those housing options are available, it keeps residents from leaving for other towns to find them, plus it can also attract residents from other towns to relocate to Rugby.
Additionally, senior-style housing units would potentially encourage local residents to sell their homes and thus open up more housing options for individuals and families searching for mid-ranged priced homes in Rugby.
Foster said the housing analysis will provide current information which the JDA can use in determining a plan to spur housing development where needed.
“Rugby has many diverse businesses and services as well as a good medical center and school system,’ Foster said. “Housing options have to be part of that equation.”
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