ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Hillsboro residents should be able to look this February at the west end of the shelterbelt to see the first new home being built at Prairie Pointe, the housing addition on the city’s east side.
“The electricity is in progress and should be ready next week,” said developer Dorothy Soldan of Manhattan. “We’ll break ground then for the first new house. The next house should begin in April or May.
“We’ll keep opening up more lots,” she added. “There are a lot of good home sites there now.”
Soldan plans for 21 homes on the south end of her 99 acres in the first phase of the development. The homes will be built for people who want modest, comfortable homes close to schools and conveniences, she said.
Soldan, who grew up in Hillsboro and has family members farming the undeveloped portion of the land, consulted foresters on preservation of the landmark tree row on the property. She said she has followed their recommendations on removing some trees and planting new ones.
One more home was completed and another started in 2001 in Carriage Hills, the housing development on Hillsboro’s south side.
By keeping up the steady pace, developers Delores Dalke and Albert Reimer feel that Hillsboro’s market can absorb the growth.
Dalke said she is “well pleased” with the way the addition has gone, including the first year of the homeowners’ association taking charge of the upkeep around the lakes to begin improvements to the west lake.
The homeowners elect officers and have their own architectural committee to approve the design of new homes going in.
Dalke said 11 lots are still available for homes in the developed area.
She and Reimer have plans for a Phase 3 development of 10 acres on the south side with room for 32 more homes, “but I’m not sure how soon we will go ahead with that.”
Development at Willow Glen surged ahead in 2001 with nine more homes completed and one in progress at the development that opened south of Carriage Hills about two and a half years ago.
Bruce Kunkel, who with his wife, Sherry, are developers of the project, said 20 lots are still available in the developed portion of the project.
“We are looking for anyone who wants to build a home to talk with us,” he said. “We are willing to work with them.
“We want to make room for more affordable housing out there.”
He said he is pleased that new homeowners are happy with their homes and for the support the project has received from the community in general.
Overall, home construction and remodeling activity decreased in 2001, as measured by the building permits issued by the city.
A total of 73 permits were issued during the year worth just under $2.184 million. That compares with 94 building permits worth $2.652 million in 2000.
Permits were issued for eight new homes and one duplex during the year with a total value of $1.664 million. That’s actually an increased from 2000, when six permits were issued for new housing at a value of $890,000.
In 2001, nine commercial permits were issued worth $539,890. That compares with 12 permits worth $1.26 million in 2000.
Park Village, the retirement living community on the city’s south side, neared capacity as 2001 came to a close.
Lu Janzen, director, said the congregate-living facility has only two vacancies among its 55 apartments. The decision was made recently to make one larger apartment out of two smaller ones, a project the staff has undertaken several times over the past few years.
Because the existing complex is nearing capacity, Janzen said the Parkside Homes board has begun discussing building some more.
“We’re not 100 percent sure what thay will be yet,” she said.
In June of last year, the city received word it had qualified for a $269,075 housing rehabilitation grant through the Kansas Small Cities Community Development Program.
The grant, administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing, will be used to make major repairs on most of the 47 homes in a four-block area on the city’s north side. A couple of abandoned houses will be demolished.
“We’re very, very pleased that Hillsboro was chosen and the state’s Department of Commerce & Housing saw that we did have a need in that part of town,” Mayor Delores Dalke said at the time of the announcement. “I feel it will be a big help to the people who live there.”