ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY JULIE ANDERSON
In the midst of an unprecedented expansion in housing developments, Hillsboro benefited with the addition of several new ?homes sweet homes? in 1999.
The growth is expected to continue into 2000, say those involved.
Sherry and Bruce Kunkel, owners of Kunkel Construction, saw very tangible growth in 1999 at their new Willow Glen housing development located on the south edge of Hillsboro.
Kunkel Construction has started framing the third house in the development and have prospects to start two more in the next two to three months.
?We?re feeling very optimistic at getting it built out in the next two to three years,? said Sherry Kunkel. ?To have five houses built, that?s a positive thing.?
Kunkel said the first house sold because the couple liked the view, which includes a pond and future park area.
?A lot of people have shown interest,? Kunkel said. ?A lot of young people are moving out into that area.?
They have seen some out-of-town interest, but the Kunkels say they are focusing mainly on potential homeowners in the area.
?We like to build houses for people who thought they could never have a new house,? Kunkel said.
Kunkel said one of the strengths they offer homebuyers is options. Although the houses have a pre-planned layout, buyers have a number of models to choose from and can pick their own colors of paint and carpet.
?People enjoy having choices,? Kunkel said.
She said they have enjoyed working with their customers. Looking to 2000, Kunkel said they would just like to sign some more contracts and build some more houses.
In 1999, Park Village, a duplex and congregate-living project of Parkside Homes, Inc., filled five apartments, remodeled several other apartments and added two real estate agents and additional services.
?It?s just been a busy year with lots of interesting things,? said Lu Janzen, administrator, said.
The remodeling includes combining some of the apartments to make larger ones. Janzen said they have seen interest in the larger apartments. To help with sales, Janzen hired real estate agents Pat Nuss and Becky Nuss.
Janzen said they have also received interest in more duplexes at Park Village.
Another change last year was the addition of services. Two of the services Park Village added were home health and house keeping.
?The services help (residents) stay independent longer and improve the quality of life,? Janzen said.
Because of the additional services, employees also were added. Parkside Homes and Park Village now employ 95 full- and part-time people, up from 70.
This year, Janzen said they plan to continue renovating some of the apartments and then working to sell them.
Progress continued at Prairie Pointe in 1999 for developers David and Dorothy Soldan.
The Soldans have received approval and filed plats for the first phase of the development.
They are waiting for the engineer to receive permission to put in the sewer line east of Industrial Park Road. All of the engineering is completed for the sewer and streets.
?I think we?re making pretty good progress,? Dorothy said.
The next step will be to put in the infrastructure for the development.
Soldan said the engineer told them they would be ready to begin building this summer.
Progress at Carriage Hills is right where developers Delores Dalke and Albert Reimer thought it would be at this point, according to Dalke.
?We?re real pleased with the progress,? Dalke said. ?It was right on schedule.?
Of the 43 lots available, 28 have been sold. Last year, one new home was completed, construction began on two more and construction will begin on another house within the next 45 days.
Dalke said they have received a lot of interest in the development. They are attracting two kinds of buyers: local people wanting to upgrade their housing arrangements, and individuals moving to the area who want a design not already available in Hillsboro.
Carriage Hills offers people a place to build custom made homes, with privacy, security, a good view and close proximity to the park and golf course, Dalke said. She hopes one to two additional homes will be started this year.
?I think there will be more interest in building out there that we are not even aware of in the year 2000,? Dalke said.
With the streets and infrastructure completed in Hillsboro Heights, the city owned development for light commercial business, building began on three businesses in 1999.
Sonic Drive-In was the first to be completed, and Country Haven Inn and Dollar General plan to be completed later this year.
Mayor Delores Dalke said she hopes several of the businesses that purchased lots in Hillsboro Heights will build this year.
In all, 10 lots have been sold.
?It has been a tremendous boost to Hillsboro because people driving by on (U.S. Highway) 56 have really started noticing Hillsboro because of the construction,? Dalke said.
She said it also is a way to promote the town without increasing taxes.
?It is far above what I had hoped for the first year,? Dalke said. ?We?re really pleased with the way it?s going.?
Dalke said the city plans to continue working with the Hillsboro Development Corp. to sell additional lots.
Pat Nuss, spokesperson for West Winds, said she had no new developments to report regarding the project on the west edge of Hillsboro.