Nebraska City breaks ground on flood recovery houses

NEBRASKA CITY – Officials broke ground in Nebraska City Friday on a housing project linked to flood recovery and the need for workforce housing.

Dan Mauk of Nebraska City Area EDC and Growing Regional Economic Development said four new houses will be constructed on previously undeveloped lots in the city’s Kearney Hill area.

Mauk: “The flooding event disrupted our economy here. We didn’t have homes that were lost because of the flooding, but we had many people that were living on the Iowa side that couldn’t get to work or had to drive four hours back and forth to work or had to stay at a hotel here or with friends or campgrounds during 2019 to get to work.”

Sen. Julie Slama said she is excited to see ground broke on an addition to southeast Nebraska’s housing stock.

Slama: “This was a big step towards recovery from the 2019 floods in southeast Nebraska and secondly, this groundbreaking helps address an issue that was present long before the 2019 floods in rural Nebraska, which is a lack of affordable, quality workforce housing.”

Mauk said Nebraska City housing studies in 2013 and 2021 show a shortage of housing units in every price range and said the four new homes will be targeted for households earning 120 percent of the average median income.

He described them with a walk out basement, three bedroom and two-car garages, facing the street with a beautiful backyard view.

Amy Kienzler of the state Department of Economic Development said a grant was awarded from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Kienzler: “We issued $500,000 in grant awards to start this project because we saw the need for housing in Nebraska City and the surrounding areas and as a growing area in the workforce. It’ s definitely needed.”

Mauk said almost 2,000 people a day leave Otoe County to work elsewhere and there is about that many that drive into the county to work here.

He said creation of a revolving fund for additional housing is a step forward.

Mauk: “To address a real serious housing shortage we’ve had in the community for quite a number of years. These monies will be recycled into a revolving loan to be able to continue to build homes, providing we don’t lose a lot of money on each home.”

Down payment assistance is also available with the houses.