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Mayoral proclamation kicks off NeighborWorks Week in Bluffs
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Mayoral proclamation kicks off NeighborWorks Week in Bluffs

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It’s NeighborWorks Week, and NeighborWorks Home Solutions has another slate of housing projects planned.

Mayor Matt Walsh issued a proclamation Monday declaring it NeighborWorks Week in Council Bluffs.

According to the proclamation, NeighborWorks Week was initiated in 1984 by a congressional resolution cosponsored by more than 240 representatives. It was formally introduced in the spring of 1986 and became an annual, national celebration held on the first through second Saturdays in June.

The week is a celebration of neighborhood pride and unity among nearly 250 organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, the proclamation stated. It celebrates the efforts of local organizations working with partners and volunteers to create healthier communities, according to the organization.

NeighborWorks Home Solutions, has been working on affordable housing in Council Bluffs for nine years. The organization was responsible for developing Beacon Place Apartments, the Walnut Grove Subdivision and numerous infill houses in the city.

“I was able to build 11 houses last year — with the pandemic,” said David Hazlewood, chief operating officer at NeighborWorks Home Solutions.

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The organization finished houses at 1838 and 1842 Seventh Ave. early this year and is working on single-family affordable houses at 2211 Eighth Ave. and 1703 Ave. G, Hazlewood said. Homes at 1009 Sixth Ave., 1726 Fourth Ave. and 921 First Ave. are also in the works. With the increase in construction costs, future NeighborWorks homes will likely start at a minimum of $170,000, he said. The organization is also working to acquire homes for rehabilitation.

NeighborWorks plans to start construction of a new subdivision, Franklin Heights, on the northwest corner of the intersection of Franklin and Bennett Avenues this fall, he said. Sewer and infrastructure work is underway. The development will include seven structures, including five single-family houses and two buildings with duplexes. The project is being done in collaboration with Turn the Page Investments and the City of Council Bluffs. Down-payment assistance of up to $30,000 will be available on the homes.

The organization has plans to build a much larger subdivision on South 19th Street. The 29 single-family dwellings will take the place of the apartment complex once envisioned for the land south of Beacon Place. Homes will include affordable and workforce housing units. Down-payment assistance will be available on the homes. NeighborWorks is currently raising money to pay for the installation of infrastructure for the neighborhood. Construction may begin in 2022.

NeighborWorks Home Solutions is also developing several affordable housing units in Omaha, according to a press release from the organization. NeighborWorks has partnered with Metropolitan Community College on one home, which will be the college’s 2022 capstone project. Students will build a house in a lab that will be moved to the community after completion.

“The purpose of our partnership is to enhance the community college’s mission of providing pathways to postsecondary credentials and innovative instructional models that have a labor market value for learners,” Hazlewood said. “This partnership allows MCC to focus on what it does best: educate and prepare students for the job market as lifelong learners … This experience will cultivate our future construction industry workforce and leaders.”

The press release included a statement about NeighborWorks Home Solutions’ purpose:

“Our mission is simple but has lasting impact in our communities: NeighborWorks Home Solutions stimulates revitalizations of neighborhoods by creating quality housing choices in the communities we serve,” the press release stated. “We have been a vital part of the communities we serve for a number of years.”

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