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Housing plan presented to Leadwood City Council

Betty McIntyre stands at the information booth for West County Community Hope Center during a West County R-4 event in spring 2023. (file photo)

West County Community Hope seeks to start new program


The Leadwood City Council heard some positive news regarding housing opportunities within the West County School District when it met in session Monday evening at city hall.

Betty McIntyre, a Leadwood native and career teacher in the West County Schools, addressed the council as a spokesperson for the West County Community Hope Center.

Located in Leadwood, the organization has been in existence since 2020 and offers a variety of services such as recovery programs, behavioral health support, GED classes, job assistance, and a weekly volunteer program all to the underserved West County School District area. The West County School District encompasses Leadwood, Irondale, Frankclay, Mitchell, Wortham, Hickory Grove, and Terre Du Lac.

According to McIntyre, the WCCHC plan is loosely based on the model set by Habitat for Humanity.

“We purchased a piece of property by the Hope Center, and we are going to tear that house down and build, as you can see, an anchor,” she said. “The anchor home will be a duplex that houses two families. They will go through a vetting process. The family has to be working. They have to make payments while they’re there. And they have to make payments that will be equal to what they will be paying when they get into the home. What we want to establish is [that] they can make a payment. They do budgeting and programs here at the center.”

While the family is living in the anchor house, the WCCHC will be rehabbing the “hope home,” and when the family purchases the home, that money will be used to purchase another home to rehab.

The goal of this project is to enable low-income families to purchase housing they can afford to buy for the same amount that they rent. The benefits of ownership will enable families to become more stable which will help children in school, businesses, churches, and the community as a whole.

It was announced in March that the West County Community Hope Center is one of 24 recipients to receive a $6,000 grant from the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation. (file photo)

The council appeared to be listening intently and responded favorably to McIntyre’s presentation, as did several members of the audience. The initiative was viewed as necessary and needed, especially as the WCCHC is a community-based group not affiliated with the government. With community involvement and the slowly progressing improvements to the city water system, the consensus seemed to be that this was another small step forward in the revitalization of the City of Leadwood.

In other business, the city added a part-time policeman to the department. Chief of Police Chris Heatherly recommended the hiring of Michael Hemmich as a new officer, and he was approved unanimously. Hemmich will be subject to the traditional 90-day probationary period, at which time his performance will be reassessed.

In the water/sewer report, Karen Nelson has been contracted by the city to conduct the water quality tests required by the state. Mike Barbey was hired as the water/sewer tech who oversees the day to day running of the utility. Some discussion was held regarding several leaks in town, particularly behind the funeral home. The wall, located on Main Street behind the funeral home, id of historic significance and requires special treatment. The city is waiting for state guidance to determine how to proceed.

During a discussion about overgrown lots and property located throughout Leadwood, it was mentioned that much of the property in question is owned by individuals living outside the city who seem to be more interested in collecting rent than maintaining their property. The city will investigate procedures to rectify what was described as an “unsightly and potentially unsafe situation.”

The next regularly scheduled Board of Alderman meeting will be held Sept. 25 at city hall, with the time to be announced at a later date.

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