The Fremont City Council approved a $1 million grant to the Greater Fremont Development Council (GFDC) for the creation of a housing fund designed to spur low to moderate income housing development in the community.
The $1 million grant comes out the city’s Local Option Economic Development (LB840) fund and will be used by the GFDC to establish a new local fund under its current Dodge County Investment Fund (DCIF) program to help provide gap financing and grants to developers, contractors, and homeowners for the development of low to moderate income housing projects.
“We are just requesting so that we can provide an opportunity for a remedy of the lack of housing stock that we have now which has been exacerbated by the flood and the additional growth that we have and will see in the community,” GFDC Director Garry Clark said.
According to Clark, while the DCIF is restricted to workforce housing development in Dodge County, the creation of a new subsidiary fund will allow flexibility to focus on spurring the development of low to moderate income housing projects needed more than ever following historic flooding in March.
“The Department of Economic Development has certain stipulations on how you use those (DCIF) funds, and it also stipulates the range of funding which excludes low to moderate income housing,” he said. “This opportunity for a subsidiary fund without those regulations gives us a lot more room to help developers that want to do projects in the low to moderate income price range.”
While the original application presented to the Fremont City Council included language that would extend the new housing funds reach to include Fremont and “surrounding areas,” several council members showed concern about the fund being used for projects outside of Fremont due to the request for funds from LB840 which is funded through sales tax within Fremont.
As a result, the council voted to amend the original application and resolution to ensure that the fund can only be used for a project within Fremont and a two-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction which includes the Village of Inglewood.
One potential project that could receive funding from the new housing fund is a proposed renovation to the 505 Building in Downtown Fremont.
According to Clark, the proposed 505 Building project is not directly linked to GFDC’s application and request for the $1 million grant, it does represent an example of a project that could apply for money from the new fund.
“This is not directly tied to the application we have today, but it is a prime example of an option of trying to cut down on needed housing,” he said. “Right now the 505 Project would be an applicant like any other applicant.”
The proposed project included in GFDC’s application would rehabilitate the long-derelict 505 Building to create 24 apartment units and commercial space on the first floor.
According to information provided in GFDC’s application, in partnership with RMD Consulting, LLC the local organization is moving into the final stages of an application to the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
GFDC’s application to the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund is for $600,000 to support the proposed 505 Building project which has a total cost estimated at $3,603,000.
“As an applicant to this state fund, GFDC could utilize a portion of the requested LB840 funds to create instant housing and economic momentum in a space that has been dormant for decades,” states GFDC’s application for the LB840 funds. “This provides us with an initial project to help impact the balance of units needed in the affordable housing range.”