Thursday, July 5, 2007

HEDA busy with establishing new housing and new businesses

excerpted from the Hoffman Tribune, June 28, 2007

At their regular meeting on Monday, June 18, HEDA members took another step forward in planning for the 8th Street South project by approving and signing the final plat. The project, similar to the creation of 7th Street South, is expected to help Hoffman grow as a bedroom community with nine new residential lots for sale. HEDA has established a similar $50 per front footage cost for each lot. This initial fee would be 100% refunded if the buyer builds within a 12 month time frame.

In a discussion after the regular meeting, Johnson explained that housing is Hoffman's largest potential asset because of the city's location. Many people live in Hoffman, yet they commute to work with a large portion of those commuters traveling to Alexandria. By establishing affordable housing in Hoffman, HEDA is trying to attract families wanting to live in smaller communities.

Several other projects spearheaded by HEDA are springing into action with the recent construction weather. Runestone Telephone Association's new facility, on land purchased through a tax increment financing district set up by HEDA, is growing daily. HEDA uses TIFF financing to encourage existing businesses, as well as new businesses, to locate in Hoffman. Although expenses for setting up a TIFF district do cost HEDA initial administration fees, Johnson explained that "TIFF financing is a useful economic development tool that pays off in the long run."

Another local business has started construction of a new facility. Hoberg's Welding and Manufacturing has outgrown their building on Main Street. They acquired the lot north of Bullfrogs from HEDA to construct a building and storage area large enough to house new projects.

Beyond that, HEDA is talking with building owners along Main Street in hopes of acquiring some of the dilapidated structures. Once Hoffman's EDA is in control of the buildings, they have discussed the possibility of demolishing the potentially dangerous structures. Not only would this be a step toward beautifying the town, but the vacant lots may become more desirable to future business owners looking to build from scratch.

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