Mandan tackling housing problem
By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor
Early in January, a Morton County housing study came out, depicting the deficiency in housing in the area. For officials in Mandan, the results were not surprising.
For the past five years, the city of Mandan has been tackling the issue of growth and housing in the community. “Assisted living has been a large focus of ours because constituents were calling in and wanting that,” said Commissioner Sandra Tibke. “The elderly wanted to stay in the community, with their network of friends and family. It was upsetting for them to not have that possibility.”
The city went ahead and offered incentives to encourage development of suitable projects. Over the course of those years, the city was able to help, partially through property tax exemptions, to get new assisted and senior living units built.
The city began looking at other focus areas. Based on an idea by Commissioner Dot Frank, the city gave a tax break to 24 units and above, multifamily housing projects. In order to qualify, these units were required to add one or two affordable housing units onto their project
However, due to recent state legislation, this incentive is no longer available.
That hasn’t stopped the city from pushing for other alternatives to improve the housing mix. Redevelopment projects have been encouraged for downtown. The goal is to seek mixed-use buildings, where the main floor will be commercial space, and the upper levels used for housing. There has also been interest in redeveloping the former junior high into mixed-use housing.
“Keeping up with development and infrastructure costs has been a challenge,” Tibke said. “It’s been difficult to get multiple bids and good pricing on projects, as companies have more options to choose from, and products are more expensive, if available at all.”
Yet, the city is not a stranger to challenges; having worked through the diesel spill a few years ago. Add another sentence to segway. Have to get to the boom. Can cut
The oil development in the western portion of the state has increased the challenges to the community as well. Yet, the city staff, and commission, have put in the hours needed to make sure they keep ahead of situation. “The oil impact has arrived in Mandan,” said Tibke. “We are seeing many people from out of state moving here, and then working in the oil field. They want to be here because it is less busy than either Williston or Minot.”
“A key to our success is partnership. Morton and Burleigh counties, as well as Mandan and Bismarck have learned how to cooperate better because of this boom,” Tibke said. “By collaborating on projects, we have had an opportunity to really work together. We are now able to exchange information more effectively, and share costs and resources.”
This collaboration has helped to keep taxes low, even with the rising costs associated with infrastructure.
Growth in Mandan has also been partially due to the support and loyalty found in the community. Companies want reassurance, as they are investing their own money, and they get it here. In turn, this attracts more businesses, which become involved in the area.