Polk eyes selling land for affordable housing

Published 5:50 pm Friday, January 22, 2010

The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) has told Polk County it may be interested in buying some county land to construct affordable housing units for residents age 55 and older.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners last week discussed the need for affordable housing and directed county manager Ryan Whitson to proceed with discussions with IPDC. Whitson informed commissioners that IPDC is working on a grant to help provide affordable apartments for residents 55 and older, and the land desired currently is county-owned property at the recreation complex near Polk County Middle School.
Whitson said the countys current system would not be sufficient for a housing unit. He said it is already in the countys long range plans to hook up the well system at the recreation complex to the Columbus water system as a backup.
Whitson said hes been talking with IPDC Director Jim Edwards, who said a study a few years ago determined Polk County is in need of 40 affordable housing units for ages 55 and older and that need has probably grown.
The property in discussion, Whitson said, is a five to 10 acre parcel behind the last ballfield at the recreation complex. Previously, the county planned to use the piece of property in discussion as the site for a senior center, but the county now has relocated its senior center to the former Carolina Classical School property, which it purchased.
Whitson said if the county hooked up its water to Columbus, the county would be in a position to purchase water from the town for both the potential affordable housing units and for the school and recreation complex.

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