New housing developments on horizon as Spring Grove fills lots, looks to grow spaces for new residents

Jordan Gerard

Spring Grove is running out of room for new homes and new families.

With the new revelation that most of the existing empty lots in town are bought and ready to be built on, Spring Grove’s stakeholders and community leaders must look to a new housing study to determine where to put new developments and what types of housing the city needs to accommodate residents.

“We’re looking at the current housing stock of Spring Grove,” Cathy Enerson with Community and Economic Development Associates said on Monday, Aug. 19, at the meeting. “We can also explore how the city can invest in housing itself.”

Using zoning maps and future zoning maps, participants at the first meeting were allowed to “think freely,” while also talking about infrastructure cost limitations.

Participants ranged from council members to realtors to business owners to residents and Econmic Development Authority (EDA) members. 

A variety of housing types and locations within or near city limits were discussed, including how to address areas with dilapidation.

New home types, such as patio homes, were also discussed. A patio home is similar to townhomes, or adjoining homes, but the patio home does not have that wall.

Instead, it allows homes to be built on less land. If that were an option people were interested in, the council would likely have to adjust ordinances. 

Several areas within city limits were identified as potential locations for townhomes, apartment buildings and a variety of price points for single-family homes, Enerson said in a follow-up email to the Herald.

The most popular type of housing was the need to build homes for an older population, which might mean townhomes, the aforementioned patio homes or an additional senior apartment building. 

With the ability for an older population to move into other housing, that also allows first-time homebuyers to buy affordable, existing homes.

The group also felt that subdivisions designed for single-family homes were successful and that more single-family homes should be built. 

Enerson said the outcome of the study will “uncover the make-up of the community and project community growth.

“We want to uncover what housing price points and products are needed, showcase housing tools to assist with housing development, meet with city staff to determine where nearby infrastructure can be added onto for the most cost effective expansion,” she added. 

As important as data can be to a study, residents know strengths and weaknesses within a city and they know the assets that should be built around. 

“It is likely to be organic growth and people within that area bring many of the projects to life,” Enerson said. “City leaders are stewards of the taxpayers’ money, and in order to be a partner in housing development, the city leaders are interested in uncovering community input prior to potentially investing in housing projects.”

Next session

Three sessions of the housing study will be open for the public to attend. 

The next session is Monday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. At this session, the group will discuss which areas have infrastructure barriers and which have opportunities.

Oct. 9 will be the last session, which will rank the projects in order to get a final map.

This study was funded by the City Council and EDA for a total cost of $7,500. The city received a $5,000 grant from Compeer Financial to conduct the study. The city and EDA split the final cost of $2,500 to fund the study.