ST. PAUL, MINN. – The small town of Roseau, population 2,800, has been struggling for the last few years to find enough housing for the workers who live there – primarily Polaris employees. Due to a series of factors, including the cost of construction outweighing the market-rate value of the building, the city has struggled to find developers interested in building. But thanks to a new Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant worth $325,000 – the first of its kind from the new Workforce Housing Pilot Project, the city of Roseau will be getting a 30-unit, $3.277 million complex called Parkland Place Apartments. Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer) worked with the city, county, and various other stakeholders in order to get the pilot project off the ground.
“Our corner of the state faces a lot of challenges when it comes to workforce housing that many urban areas of the state don’t have to struggle with. This grant will help make this apartment complex become a reality and it’s great to see the city move in the right direction,” said Sen. Stumpf.
DEED’s Community and Business Development Representative Christine Schieber said the pilot program is truly cutting edge. She adds, the workforce housing program doesn’t come with any income restrictions on the new building – unlike every other housing program offered through the department. DEED has been hearing about the lack of workforce housing for about a year now according to Schieber. She also added, other cities have shown interest in the pilot program that currently is only offering grants to Roseau and Pennington Counties.
According to the town’s mayor, Jeff Pelowski, the city will be contributing a large chunk of money to the project as well; he added that without the city’s help the project would likely never come to fruition. During the 2014 Legislative Session Sen. Stumpf worked on creating this pilot program as well changed the requirements housing projects must meet in order to qualify for TIF financing.