Rose Commons affordable housing apartments approved by Springfield leaders

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A proposal that will bring an affordable housing apartment complex to a former school site in the West High Street area was approved by the Springfield City Commission this month.

Zoning was changed from a green space, park, recreation and school district to also allow low-density, multi-family residential apartments at 1315 W. High St., where the former Clark Middle School once stood. The apartments will be two- and three-bedroom units and will be funded through private dollars and state tax credits, Springfield Community Development Director Shannon Meadows said.

The complex is planned to be two stories high and to have 40 units.

The development will qualify as part of a designated Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), a tool increasingly being used to encourage development in Ohio cities. Once designated, the CRA rewards property owners who choose to build new or upgrade existing residences. Property owners can reap temporary tax exemptions of up to 100% on residential, commercial or industrial projects within the designated CRA.

In this particular case, city officials have indicated that the tax break will apply only to the developer and residents of the apartment complex, and will not apply to commercial or industrial development in the same area.

One resident during the city meeting raised concerns that there is no grocery store on the west end of the city. Jonathan McKay of Woda Development, the company developing the project, said he hopes that the apartments will encourage more businesses like grocery stores to come to the area.

McKay said the apartments would serve people within 30-80% area median income. He said low income tax credits will fund a portion of the development and there are eight United States Department of Housing and Urban Development rental assistance vouchers.

Rent is planned to go from $379 to $895 for a two-bedroom unit and $428 to $1,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

Meadows said the apartments will help the city in its plan to create more affordable housing that is not all concentrated in one area.

Assistant Mayor Rob Rue said this will help prevent future “tent cities,” referring to an encampment on West Main Street that served as a makeshift shelter from 2020-2022.

“The idea of having a facility like this apartment unit is so we combat future displaced individuals, so folks that have an opportunity to pay and have affordable housing can have that,” Rue said. “If we don’t have these then we’ll have other issues, like we’ve already seen in the past: increased displaced individuals and possible tent cities and things like that that we don’t ever want to see here.”

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