The Affordable Housing Commission continues to take a long, hard look at how it can get the best bang for its buck in a housing project affordable to citizens currently priced out of the housing market.

It received two proposals to build on the city-owned property at Water and Bender Streets, as well as a request for city and county support for a four-unit privately owned property at Second and Pearl Street.

The city is expected to accrue an estimated $900,000 in the first round of a tax expected to generate an estimated $450,000 to $500,000 annually. Now its finally time to put that to work.

“I’m super excited about this pot of dollars, because we can use it the way we want. I’ve lived and worked in the land of state and federal funding (requirements), so this is so exciting,” commissioner Sarah Bedsaul said. “I am a proponent to obtain a bond on this money. I would like to be able to maximize our effort, so if we went out and bonded for a 10-year for a bigger pot of money. I want to see more projects come in.

“I want to have more to come in. I want people in the industry to get wind of this and come to us with some really innovative ideas.”

Crytyl Enterprises Inc. is asking for a city contribution of $765,000. Tyler Glahn outlined a plan to build 18 quality family four-bedroom houses in the 1,300 square-foot range on the Bender and Water Street property. The major emphasis in the Crytyl Enterprises Inc. plan is home ownership.

The Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity is asking for $802,500 to build 18 single-family units on the Water and Bender property, maximizing the density allowed under the zoning. In her presentation, executive director Linda Kelly emphasized individual home size, based on the needs of a qualified family in terms of two and four bedrooms. Construction would be in a five-year phase.

The proposal for Second and Pearl is unique in that HopeSource purchased the property with the idea of developing affordable housing for seniors and the homeless community. They are asking for a piece of the pie so to speak, $400,000 for the construction of a four-unit dwelling that allows seniors on a fixed income other options and helps stabilize the people staying in the cold weather shelter as a means of survival.

“I can only speak for myself, but I’m really excited about what Crytyl has put forward for Water and Bender,” Bedsaul said. “He’s a good builder and he can put these houses together quickly and he has a plan for folks to pre-qualify.

“He has this clause in there if anything goes sideways, the city can get its investment back. I also really liked the WorkSource proposal. They’re going to the county for some funds, they came to us for some funds. I liked the fact that they are focused on seniors and they have set aside a unit for the homeless, say if a family with kids really needs a place it would be available.”

The commission met last week and will meet again on Wednesday to come up with its final recommendation for the Ellensburg City Council on Dec. 16.

There are still several factors yet to be determined, but Mayor Bruce Tabb said he is looking forward to what is available to help people find affordable housing in the city.

“We’re truly excited to be getting into the investment process of affordable housing for this community,” Tabb said.


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