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Phase I of Hunters Glen housing development kicks off

Eighty-six units anticipated to be built by the end of this year

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, stresses the importance of housing for economic vitality during the groundbreaking for Phase I of the Hunters Glen development, an 86-unit development north of Valley View Cemetery in Garden City. Also pictured, Garden City Mayor Shannon Dick. photo by Scott Aust/GreaterGardenCity

GARDEN CITY — Garden City officially broke ground on a new housing development Wednesday morning, the first of what may be several such developments over the next decade designed to meet workforce housing needs.

Hunters Glen is a multi-phase development located on 40 acres north of Valley View Cemetery in Garden City.

Dirt work has already begun on Phase I of the project, which will include 86 two- and three-bedroom apartment units and possibly a small grocery store to serve residents. Project developers hope to finish the first phase by the end of 2022.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran said housing is near the top of the list of needs to keep rural Kansas thriving.

“The reason it’s good to be in Garden City is this is a place that has figured out how to make good things happen. You’re a role model for growth, prosperity. The things that are happing here are things we hope happen across our state,” he said.

Moran commended the community, developers and expressed appreciation for the Department of Agriculture’s assistance on housing issues.

“We need to do more to work more closely with USDA to accomplish more,” Moran said. “We need to up our game when it comes to housing.”

Michael Snodgrass, President/CEO Oikos Development Corporation; Jeff Carpenter, CM Development; Phil Escareno, Board Chair Finney County Economic Development; Karissa Stiers, USDA Regional Director; U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran; Lona DuVall, President/CEO Finney County Economic Development; Matt Allen, City Manager; and Shannon Dick, Garden City Mayor, shovel dirt during Wednesday’s groundbreaking.

Noting the importance of housing to the agriculture industry and the economy, Moran pledged to work hard to ensure there are more opportunities and projects like Hunters Glen.

More than $19 million in funding has been secured for Phase I to develop affordable rental housing for year-round and migrant or seasonal domestic farm laborers who are income eligible. Funding is being provided by USDA Rural Development’s Section 514 loan and grant programs, Bonneville Multifamily Capital, the City of Garden City’s RHID program, and ODC owner contribution. Horizon Bank is providing the construction financing. The property will be managed by Van Binsbergen & Associates, Inc.

Karissa Stiers, USDA Regional Director, said the 514 program is designed to provide affordable financing towards the development of affordable housing for farm laborers, a vital ingredient for our overall and local economies.

“Providing decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing is absolutely a key priority of USDA,” she said. “These projects wouldn’t be possible without the partnerships between Oikos Development, the community of Garden City, and Finney County.”and

Lona DuVall, President and CEO of Finney County Economic Development Corp., said housing and childcare are the top two issues facing the community’s economic development.

“We have no trouble recruiting strong industry that funds itself, that brings its own money into this community and invests in Finney County and Garden City,” DuVall said.

Karissa Stiers, USDA, comments during Wednesday’s groundbreaking.

Recognizing the need for housing, the City of Garden City recently made it one of the top priorities in its annual goals. It’s estimated that Garden City/Finney County will need to build 4,000 to 6,000 housing units over the next decade to meet current and future demand.

“We must have more workers. Right now, we have about 3,000 open jobs. We have less than 30 people receiving unemployment benefits. The only way we’re going to continue to grow our economy the way we have over the past decade is to continue doing projects like this – building the housing and childcare that’s necessary to support the workforce,” DuVall said.

Overall, developers anticipate a four-phase project, bringing potentially 300+ housing units to the community upon full buildout, according to Michael Snodgrass, President and CEO of Oikos Development Corporation, the project developer.

Phase II funding has been requested and will provide 106 two- and three-bedroom units by late 2024. Both projects combined will provide nearly 200 units of affordable labor housing and represent over $41 million of total investment in the Garden City community. A Head Start/Childcare facility is also being planned, as well as a Phase III and IV.

Proposed layout for the Hunters Glen housing development.