On Saturday morning we held our first community meeting to discern community support for affordable housing in Edgewater and what might be the best way forward. We had a great discussion and those who attended brought a variety of experiences, expertise and thoughts to the table.
Feelings and thoughts toward affordable housing in Edgewater vary. In Edgewater, residents do not pay a property tax to the City of Edgewater. This means that the City of Edgewater relies heavily on sales tax and recently, marijuana sales tax. The land at 20th and Depew in Edgewater is an important puzzle piece in bringing in more sales tax for the City of Edgewater and so a high percentage of that land will more than likely be kept for retail.
There is also a sentiment that the City of Edgewater cannot support more concentrated housing at 20th and Depew. Specifically, the City would not be able to effectively provide police, fire and infrastructure for new, concentrated housing on the site.
Then there is the funding question. How would funding work for affordable housing at 20th and Depew?
After much discussion, we recognized the need for housing that would be achievable for seniors and teachers in Edgewater. Based on the prior plans of Trinity Development, 80 units of housing were planned on the northeast corner of 20th and Depew just south of Citizens Park. What if this housing had a first floor of senior housing, a floor of teacher housing and then two stories of market rate housing on the top two floors? This plan would still save the bulk of the land at 20th and Depew for retail AND provide needed, achievable housing for those that need it.
So now we are reaching out to housing experts in the metro area to learn about funding options for affordable, achievable housing. Our goal is to reach out to organizations that work with seniors as well as teacher groups to get their support for a plan like this.
Then once we have found a feasible option for making achievable housing financially viable, then we will present it at an Edgewater City Council meeting in the near future.
Now is the time to act and develop realistic plans for teacher and senior housing at 20th and Depew.
Our dream is that Edgewater would be known for creative, smart development that maintains our small town charm yet provides housing options for those that desperately need it.