Joplin city leaders and citizens gathered Tuesday morning to commemorate the breaking of ground on a nearly $10 million project that is made possible by state and federal Low Income House Tax Credit (LIHTC) programs.
Located at the corner of S Cunningham Avenue and W 26th St in Joplin, Memorial Hills will have 54 one and two-bedroom apartment homes that range from $395-$620 per month for those ages 62 and older. Each apartment will include a full kitchen, hardwood style flooring, furnished washer and dryer and more. A community office space, computer center, fitness center and severe weather refuge area will also be present.
“I’m very excited to be apart of this project…Just being from this area and caring so much about it. Knowing what MHDC (Missouri House Development Commission) can do whenever they do award a site and a project with the credits,” says Kevin Parker, of Parker Development and Affordable Equity Partners. “Possible to merge private and public moneys together..that impact is enormous.”
Parker adds that it is funded by a mix of private and public moneys because the tax credits will not begin until the project is 100% built. “After the project is built, sometime in 2019, the credits will begin. It takes ten years for the credits to fully come in. It’s because private investors are willing to make that investment at the onset that the public money comes in over the next few years and pays that back.”
Mayor Michael Seibert was on hand as well to discuss the importance of the new senior living center. “We’ve known that we’ve had gaps in our housing, especially in affordable senior housing, so this comes at a great time for us to be able to take that next step forward. This is a great location, we’re close to shopping, and we’re close to our new Mercy Park.”
The area the project is being constructed on has been vacant since the 2011 tornado.
While there has been some debate within the state regarding LIHTC and its value, Seibert says that the city of Joplin has benefited greatly from those awards granted from MHDC. “To have affordable seniors living in this part of our community is critical and I think it’s going to be something that’s going to be welcomed and enjoyed for years and years to come.”
Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Rob O’Brian, says everyone involved in the project deserves recognition. “Those housing credits don’t just come overnight, Kevin and his team are making this $10 million investment now for credits that will come when the thing is actually built and gets open…Everyone was very concerned about the population loss. When we looked at other many other communities that were hard hit by other natural disasters, there was a population loss that were never recovered and that was a big concern immediately after the tornado. Yet today we have more population that we had prior and a lot of that is because people buckled down and did good projects.”
Officials expect the project to be completed by December 2018 or January 2019.