Mt. Vernon Register-News

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August 29, 2013

Housing plan enters phase 2

MT. VERNON — The city is entering its second phase in a program designed to bring housing development and building to the area.

"We now have the tools in place to work with developers," said City Manager Ron Neibert. "It's time to enter phase two and market to developers."

The housing program has been implemented in response to a study which showed the city has a shortage of home based on job creation projections. In addition, the program is expected to help the loss of population shown in the census by providing homes. The study stated there is an "imbalance of housing needs...(that) prevents adequate quality and quantity of housing in the city of Mt. Vernon."

The first phase of the program has been completed, which includes online resources for home builders and developers. Joe Zanola of Zanola Company LLC told council members earlier this week he is ready to go to the next phase of the project — reaching out to developers and builders.

Included in the next phase are Building Pros monthly e-mail campaigns which include a web magazine, holding webinars for new homes, branding and signage; an ambassador program to reach out to area building trades businesses and those who supply builders; provide a Mt. Vernon Builder/Developer booster kit with information; host a housing opportunity road show; identify local business opportunities; create a Mt. Vernon Building Support webinar and create hotsheets and a marketing package.

In addition, Zanola said he believes an infill housing design charette would be a good project for the city to undertake.

"The charette would be important to use for housing opportunities downtown," Zanola added.

The council is expected to be presented with a contract during its regular meeting next week outlining the work for the second phase to be undertaken by Zanola.

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