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The Ellensburg City Council approved a motion to declare city property parcels 617033 and 937033 at First Avenue and Pine Street as surplus for the Affordable Housing 125 5 resolution, paving the way to proceed with the project at the Community Garden site.

At the Sept. 7 meeting, council authorized Mayor Bruce Tabb’s signature on an award letter to Stalder Interests and directed staff to initiate contract negotiations for development of an affordable housing project on the First & Pine property.

At that same meeting, council also directed staff to prepare a resolution to surplus the two properties needed for contribution to the Stalder Interests’ project.

“With this, those properties can now be contributed to the project. But there still needs to be a contract negotiated and signed,” Tabb said. “There isn’t a time frame it right now, but we are moving forward.”

The 2021 Housing Needs Assessment found that 59% of rental households are considered cost-burdened or severely cost-burdened, with 4,425 renter households at qualifying incomes levels for income-restricted units.

The city purchased the First and Pine property along with another parcel on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Pine Street for $532,000 in 2003 with bond proceeds.

The northernmost parcel is used for Hal Holmes Community Center parking and the two southern parcels (First and Pine property) are currently in use as a community garden.

In November 2019, the city conducted a valuation of the 1st and Pine property by comparing the property to two undeveloped parcels (15733 and 337433) within a few blocks of the subject parcels.

Based on that comparison, the valuation for the city’s 0.50 acre property is $158,188.73. The surplus of the parcel will facilitate the development of a 57-unit apartment complex for households earning no more than 60 percent of Area Median Income.

Rodney Harwood: award-winning journalist and columnist. Lover of golf and the written word. I can be reached at rharwood@kvnews.com