Updates: Redistricting, Door Knocking, Federal Investment, & Housing

New Area Added to District 3 

As a result of the population growth of Olmsted County, the Commissioner Districts have changed to equalize the number of people in each district.  The County Planning Department created six maps that met all legal requirements; on Tuesday, April 26, the County Board Chose Plan 1.  District 3 will retain its current boundaries and will add an area on the west side of the district.

Description of the area added to District 3

The area added to District 3 are the city blocks inside an area best defined as South of 7th Street NE, North of 4th Street SE, East of the Zumbro River, and West of 11th Ave SE and NE.  Another description would include the area North of the former Rosco’s Drive In including Mayo Baseball Field, Town Hall Estates and surrounding streets and West of 11th Street (St. Francis Church) up to the Zumbro River.  District 3 population is now 23,610.  The percent of Population Other than “Non-Hispanic White” and age 18+ is 27.9%.  The entire district is inside the city.  Plan 1 met all the legal requirements, kept intact communities of interest, and did not gerrymander.  I believed it was the best redistricting plan and support it.

I Have Been in Your Neighborhood 

I have been walking in my district and talking to people.  I have been walking much of District 3 and will soon be meeting people who have been added to District 3.  I look forward to representing all the people of District 3.

Making the Case for Federal Money

When Senator Tina Smith visited Olmsted County.  I participated in talking to her about the County’s need for Federal assistance for local projects.  One of those projects is the proposed Material Recovery Facility.  This is a facility that will allow the sorting of recyclable materials before they enter they enter the burners at the Olmsted Waste to Energy Facility.  If Olmsted gets the funds for this $25 million project it will reduce the amount of material that goes into the burners, extend the life of the burners, and recover more material that can be sold to businesses that recycle it.  I talked with Tina about our projects.


Housing Summit

Olmsted County, area builders, bankers, real estate developers, non-profits, and other interested entities participated in a discussion on overcoming the difficulties of building more low-income and middle-income housing.  Here are some of barriers and challenges identified that has prevented more housing:

  • Increased cost of materials
  • Increased cost of labor
  • High land cost
  • Increased cost to build infrastructure
  • High developer fees
  • Supply chain issues
  • Low supply of new construction
  • Not enough builders to meet demand
  • Not enough trade workers
  • Inflated appraisals raising the cost of homes and land
  • Only expensive and/or luxury homes being built
  • Few incentives for builders and developers for modest development
  • Need to convince developer/builder there is a market (risk)
  • Unsure of how to use recent housing investments (builder/developer)
  • Buyers wanting large lots
  • Low lot inventory
  • Zoning restrictions
  • Strict building codes
  • Blaming other sectors for increased costs
  • Competitive/tight housing market
  • Buyer financial readiness
  • Wages of potential owners have not increased while the cost to build/purchase homes have
  • Buyers don’t have down payment assistance or closing costs
  • Buyers unsure of how to build a home


Regional Housing and Urban Development Came to Olmsted County

Diane Shelly, the Regional Representative of HUD, was in Olmsted County on April 29.  In addition to the county, the city of Rochester, and the county Housing Department participated in joining HUD’s “House America” program.

I supported $16 million this year to reduce homelessness.  Theis includes the purchase of the 105 N. Broadway building for transitional housing, improving the warming shelter, and collaborating with non-profits to build more housing units.

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