Oskaloosa A local housing group is much closer to receiving a $375,000 loan to build a 12-unit senior housing complex.
Bill Hannah, a member of Oskaloosa Rural Housing Development Inc., told the Oskaloosa City Council at its regular meeting Thursday night that his group is closing in on federal loan money to build the apartments and asked that a portion of a street in front of the proposed location in the 500 block of Washington Street be closed.
Hannah said today that he asked the council to close one-half block of Columbia Street from Washington Street to the Jefferson County shop building. The group wants to close the street, which dead-ends where the complex is to be built, so apartment residents and visitors can use it for parking, Hannah said.
However, the Jefferson County Commission recently voted to build a helicopter pad near the location to be used for ambulance helicopters. The city council would not act on the group's request until the county commission approved it.
HANNAH PLANNED to discuss the request with county commissioners this morning.
The development group is seeking a loan through the Farmers Home Administration to build the housing complex, which group members say is badly needed in town. Hannah has said since the group started the project in July of last year that he has compiled a list of 24 people who say they would move into the complex if it were built.
Virginia Hammersmith, FmHA district loan specialist, said this morning that the group is only three steps away from receiving its federal loan money.
The development group needs to deliver architectural plans to FmHA and make its final application for the loan money. FmHA then will appraise the project to determine how much money it can loan the group.
Hammersmith said the Oskaloosa group is vying for money made available by FmHA's office in Washington, D.C., and to be allocated after April 1.
FIVE OR SIX other projects also are competing for the money and could knock Oskaloosa out of the running, but Hammersmith said that chance was slim.
Hammersmith said that if everything went as planned, construction on the Oskaloosa project could begin in September or October.
The loan would be made for 50 years, during which time FmHA would monitor the development group's management of the apartment complex, making sure it complies with FmHA regulations, Hammersmith said.
The development group has been working on the project since last July, when it tried to strike a deal with the city council that would have provided land for the complex and a new city shop.
UNDER THE proposal, the development group would have found a tract of land equal in value to the land on which the city shop now stands. The group would have paid the city the appraised value of the new tract, and the city, in turn, would have used the money to buy the new tract to build its new city shop.
The development group would have razed the existing city shop northeast of the downtown square and replaced it with the senior housing complex.
However, the city council decided in August last year that the proposal would have cost the city too much money and rejected the plan.
The development group then altered its plans and announced it would build the complex on another parcel of land in the 500 block of Washington Street, also near the downtown square.