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EMAA gets funding for housing units

The East Missouri Action Agency has been approved for funding to create a total of 78 housing units for low-income families in the Mineral Area.

Two locations, the former EMAA offices on Glendale Street in Park Hills and a new site to be built on Maple Valley Drive in Farmington, were chosen by the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) as part of its Rental Production and Preservation Program.

“It’s very unusual for an organization to get two of these developments in one year,” said EMAA Director William Bunch. “I think we just had two of the most impressive projects this year.”

Bunch contributes the historic value of the Park Hills site and a good location for the Farmington site as one of the reasons for the approvals. Community involvement is another significant reason for the approved funding.

“I’d like to thank the communities for their support,” Bunch said.

At the Park Hills location the creation of 30 apartments, with an addition built to the original building are planned. Plans call for six two-bedroom units and 24 single-bedroom units.

Preservation of the Glendale building, the last of brick school buildings in the Park Hills area, will be essential when construction begins. Bunch said the building, which was built in 1909, could be placed on the Federal Register of Historic Buildings.

“It really is a significant structure,” said Bunch.

MACO construction company, out of Clayton, has been selected to complete the $3.5 million project. The group worked on a similar project in Kennett where another historic structure was rehabbed for housing units.

The MHDC has earmarked June for the deadline to break ground on the project, and Bunch said they are expecting 14 months for completion. With not only the restoration of the Glendale building but the addition as well “could take all of those 14 months,” according to Bunch.

The Farmington location will be the first MHDC site in the town, addressing what Bunch believes is a pressing need. “This gives the folks a chance who work there a chance to live there as well,” said Bunch. “I expect all of them will be leased up the day they open.”

Forty-eight units will be constructed at the Maple Valley Drive site, with a completion schedule similar to that of the Park Hills location. Capstone Development of St. Louis will be working on the project, the same company which built other area sites for MHDC, such as the Park Hills Apartments.

Potential tenants can apply at the EMAA offices or at the rental sites once they are completed, and Bunch emphasizes many people qualify for the housing.

Bunch said many entry-level workers who work everywhere from fast food companies to police departments could qualify for approval.

The EMAA offers a rent-assistance program, where the organization helps tenants pay their rent, depending on income. “We could end up paying anywhere from just a few dollars to all of their rent,” said Bunch.

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