Nort Johnson, CEO/President of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism requested up to $5,000 for conceptual drawings for a housing effort in Faribault.

The County Board was meeting as the Housing and Redevelopment Board and unaimously approved the request.

Johnson explained the Chamber had a few goals in addition to assisting businesses in the community in traditional chamber ways.  Education was on top followed by housing.

He says the organization is not able to provide any funds but they have been able to get city officials and potential developers to the table to do some brainstorming about potential sites for a new subdivision.

Johnson says the City of Faribault has done an outstanding job of getting more apartment housing in the community.  He stated however affordable homes were the next area that needed to be developed to offer people the next step in growing their personal wealth.

County HRA Director Joy Watson agreed with Johnson's presentation telling commissioners even with apartments going up in Faribault and Northfield the county is still very short in the availability of places for people to live.

During budget discussions by the County Board for this year they did include $50,000 to be used in assisting home development in the county.  Those funds will be used for the Faribault Chamber's request.

During his most recent visit on the KDHL AM Minnesota Program Johnson hinted this housing news would be made public soon and said they are eyeing potential development of approximately 104 acres on the city's west side.

In addition to large "Executive Type" homes he stated they wanted to construct several "affordable homes" in the 900 to 1100 square foot size and some townhomes in the subdivision.

During the regular meeting of commissioners it was pointed out the vacancy rate for housing in Rice County is very low.

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