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Ashland officials say new affordable housing is a win-win

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ASHLAND, WI -- Ashland Mayor Debra Lewis said affordable housing is a big issue for the city. She said one reason is it's hard to get new projects started.

"The cost of construction up here is higher than some of the bigger areas down in the southern parts of the state," said Mayor Lewis.

Now, there is a new project in the works that has city leaders feeling hopeful.

"There is a huge need we have for young families that are moving to the area, so in terms of our affordable and workforce housing we see this as huge fill to a gap we have right now," said Megan McBride, Ashland Director of Planning and Development.

Tuesday, city councilors gave the thumbs up to a developer's plans to build a new $12 million affordable housing project providing 50 units.

It will be located on the former timeless timber site in the middle of town.

Something city leaders said the new housing will be a good fit for everyone, from young families to senior citizens.

"So, this would be one block off from the waterfront, we have a nice city park over there. It's across from St. Luke's Clinic, which is great for the elderly population. It's also close to Walmart, Kwik Trip, and those types of places," said McBride.

Lewis said they gave the 22 acres of land valued at about $489,000 dollars to the developer mainly because the city's budget was too tight for other incentives.

"One of the resources that we have, that we can leverage, is the land," added Mayor Lewis.

She said the taxes the city will be receiving will pay for it in the long term.

Mayor Lewis said the new housing will not only help people find a new place to live in the near term, but it will give the city a brighter future.

"It's one of the few things that keeps us held back a little bit because folks want to come here but they can't find a decent place to live."

Meteorologist Alex Libby

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