A pair of proposed apartment projects will not be happening this year in Washington. Proposals by a couple of firms that had sought city support as they tried to get special housing credits to finance the project were turned down by the state.
“We had two developers from Ohio that came to the city this summer and they were applying to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency for rental housing incentives,” said Washington Mayor Joe Wellman. “It was a competitive application to the state to get the tax credits to build those. It was a very competitive process and neither one of them scored high enough to be approved.”
The state reviewed 45 applications, turning down more than they approved.
The two projects included 60 new apartments on the city’s east side and 40 to 50 new townhouses on West Main Street.
“It is disappointing from the standpoint that we do need housing in town,” said Wellman. “The housing study that was done by the Economic Development Corporation showed Daviess County needs 1,400 more housing units between now and 2025, so we need to do all we can to get more housing.”
Wellman points out that there are some efforts underway that may be slowly creeping into providing more housing in the community. One example is a program where the city purchased rundown properties, demolished them and then put the land back up for sale.
“You may recall we did the blight elimination program and now most of those properties have been sold back to private individuals,” said Wellman. “Some of them have new homes. Some of them have duplexes on them. Things are happening, but it is going to take a lot more to fill our need for housing. And we need it in all sizes, low to moderate to middle income housing.”
Washington is apparently not alone in its need to improve and expand its housing. So, officials do not believe it is becoming an anchor to growth and development.
“Every community has housing issues,” said Wellman. “Every meeting I go to that’s the big buzz-words, we need more housing. I think what we are doing, working on the amenities, improving our parks, the downtown area helps compensate for some of that. We still get a lot of good comments on that so hopefully, that draws people to town to take a look at us.”
And as to the apartment projects that did not get the funding to get off the ground, the mayor still has hopes for them.
“This is an annual thing so I would hope they would look at their applications and see how they can improve them and maybe come back and try next year,” he said.