Demographic Study Needed for Housing

(posted Mar 21)

Speedway's Housing Advisory Council and Technical Resource Committee are looking at establishing an internal infrastructure to help bring the desirability and attractiveness back to Speedway's housing market.

Councilor Jeff Hartman indicated the town needs to offer more than "great schools and great public safety." The committee is concerned about attracting young families into town. Hartman said when he talks to his friends as to why they don't live in Speedway, the response is small bedrooms and bathrooms.

Hartman said that many do not want to make improvements because the cost would exceed market value. He wanted to offer a variety of homes to fill market demand and provide incentives to current homeowners to make improvements. He also inquired if the redevelopment commission could buy homes to solve the housing problem.

The entire town is in a redevelopment district with two areas designated to collect tax increment financing. Town Manager Barbara Lawrence said the SRC can acquire housing, but it would be easier for the community development corporation because of the benefit of the charitable contribution.

Lawrence explained the CDC is a great tool, and Speedway is in the process of receiving its non-profit 501c3 status. She said the process has been delayed, but if the CDC was functioning it could purchase the boarded, abandon HUD home at 15th and Lynhurst Drive.

Hartman noted that zoning enforcement is null when it comes to enforcement against the federal government. He was concerned the blight could grow worse in the community as more homes are foreclosed on.

Lawrence said that another CDC could buy the Speedway home. The committee was not aware that the Westside Community Development Corporation's boundaries extend into Speedway. It's jurisdiction overlaps the eastern portion of Speedway's CDC.

The committee agreed to do a demographic study to better understand the ratio of single family to multi-family housing. They wanted to know the senior housing population to see if there is a need for senior maintenance free homes, not nursing homes. The committee also agreed to research HUD programs as well as look at the diversity of housing.

Lynda Miller was cautious about proposals to eliminate some apartments because they do impact the school. She wanted a study performed to understand the impact. "All of us can say 'oh, let's get rid of the apartments', but we have to realize how they impact our schools." She qualified that her comments are not negative or positive, but that the apartments definitely impact schools.

Miller recognized that a CDC and the housing committee cannot fix the housing problem alone .She thinks it is critical to attract developers to buy apartments. "We are not going to be able to do it ourselves. We need to have developers."

The next meeting is April 16 at 6 pm at the town hall.