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Bayfield, Ashland counties to receive $50k housing study grant

BAYFIELD CO, WI-- Bayfield and Ashland counties will be receiving a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

According to Kellie Pederson, Community Development Educator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, cities within the two counties have struggled with housing issues, such as lack of workforce and senior facilities, and limited rentals.

She says developers also have a difficult time paying for projects in rural areas. Pederson said this is because the size of the projects are often not large enough to compete for federal tax credits.

One solution Pederson has identified is to find common needs between municipalities in order to create larger projects that can be more competitive in the tax credit market.

Twelve cities in Bayfield and Ashland County had to match some of the grant in order to receive the $50,000. According to Pederson, those cities were able to raise more than $34,000.

The grant will be used to develop a survey aimed at gathering data about area housing needs. The survey will be sent out to community members.

Data from the survey will then be used to create a plan for developers to address different concerns.

Pederson is hopeful the survey project will begin in April, with the study wrapping up in early 2021.

Hunter McCullough

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