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Mennonite housing group eyes Hillsboro for project

Staff writer

Mennonite Housing, based in Wichita, is exploring building affordable housing for 24 families in northern Hillsboro.

Workforce housing has been a priority in Hillsboro’s strategic plan for four years.

The proposed housing project, Hillcrest Grove, would consist of 12 duplexes, a clubhouse, and a maintenance garage. The duplexes will have two or three bedrooms.

Mennonite Housing pitched a proposal to Hillsboro council members Dec. 6.

“We’re very preliminary as far as design,” Mennonite Housing chief executive Byron Adrian said. “That visual I handed out to the city council is one we recently finished up in Newton.”

The proposal states duplexes would be energy-efficient and include ranges, refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, washers, and dryers.

Furnaces and water heaters would be gas. Air conditioners and appliances would be electric. Residents would be responsible for utilities except trash pickup.

The clubhouse would have a manager’s office, community room, kitchen, restrooms, computer room, and covered rear patio.

A playground and basketball court also would be on the site.

The proposed project is for renters with annual income of less than 80% of area median income.

A limited number of units would be available at reduced rent for households with annual income of less than 30% or 50% of the area median.

Council members didn’t take action last week, but if the city partners with Mennonite Housing , it would deed over 11 acres south of Dollar General and west of Carquest, Mayor Lou Thurston said.

“That’s the area they feel is most suitable to their particular project,” Thurston said. “The city would give it to them to fund their tax credits.”

The city probably would provide electric and water hook-ups at no cost, he said.

Adrian said the proposal is too preliminary to estimate what rents would be.

“We are working on putting an application out to Kansas Housing Resources Corporation,” he said. “It’s due in January and doesn’t require much detail at that time. The full application is due in May.”

He estimates that if all goes as planned, people could move in by the fall of 2025.

“If we can make this happen, it’s going to be a great thing for Hillsboro,” Thurston said.

Mennonite Housing already has 24 properties with 994 housing units in Wichita, Valley Center, Derby, Benton, Andover, Coffeyville, Newton, and Abilene.

Last modified Dec. 13, 2023

 

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