WASHINGTON, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– As Bryant Niehoff looked over the findings of the Indiana Upland Housing Study a few years ago, one thing stuck out.
“By 2030, the study shows there is a need for over 1,120 new housing units in Daviess county.”
Over the past few years, the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation and the city of Washington have been working hand-in-hand to combat the forecasted shortage.
They saw a landmark in their progress last month, when officials broke ground on an apartment complex that will hold 143 market rate apartments.
Washington Mayor David Rhoads said the project, which will be located near the intersection of East National Highway and SE 21st Street, will cost about $14.5 million dollars, and will be completed in two phases.
“This’ll be a two phase project. The first phase will start, and probably about a year from now, they’ll have [the first phase] done, which’ll be three buildings, 24 units in each building,” he said.
Niehoff, the executive director for the county’s economic development corporation, said data from the study indicated market rate housing was the biggest need around the region, which helped them prioritize this project.
“What we noticed in reviewing the data, the largest gaps that we saw, when looking specifically at Daviess county, and from a larger perspective, at the region, at that 11 county region, the largest gaps are what we call the missing middle,” he said.
Niehoff also said his office was working with the Regional Opportunities Initiative, who conducted the study, to evaluate any changes due to inflation and COVID-19.
Both Rhoads and Niehoff said conversations were taking place on other projects around the city, but they were in the preliminary stages.
Niehoff acknowledges there’s a lot of work to fill the entire need for housing, but he is proud of the work his office has put in so far.
“It’s phenomenal to see this projects coming to fruition, many of them as I mentioned with this one, it’s been a long time coming, we’ve been in conversations for a while,” Niehoff said.
“These things don’t happen overnight. So it’s really exciting to drive by, see the sitework being done, realizing that that vision is coming to reality.”