KOKOMO, Ind. (March 2, 2015) - Kokomo officials announced a project Monday that would turn three blighted blocks on the city’s east side into a brand new apartment complex. It’s the latest project there that aims to turn around a struggling part of that city.
“This is a big stretch. It’ll have a nice urban feel to it once it’s completed,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight.
Right now, it’s not the nicest street in the city, but Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight was proud to promote, what’s to come to the 600 block of Apperson Way on the city’s northeast side. Construction will start in the fall of 2015 on the Apperson Way Apartments, a $9.5 million, 69-unit apartment complex, complete with a park, community garden, and picnic area.
“These would be taxable apartments and it puts about $9.5 million into an area that could maybe use a little shot in the arm,” he said.
The city received almost $1 million in tax incentives, for private developers to turn the blighted neighborhood, into affordable housing.
“We take areas that maybe have not seen investment over time and any time that we have the opportunity for a new investment, a tax credit housing or such, how do we leverage that to not only get the investment, but also clean up an area that needs cleaned up,” said Goodnight.
“The factory that was here, once it went out of business, was dragging the entire area around it down,” said Goodnight as he walked through a new apartment complex a few blocks from the Apperson Way site.
For almost 25 years, the Kingston plant sat vacant on the city’s northeast side. Two years ago, it was replaced with brand new, affordable housing units where younger residents, are moving in droves.
“Me and my girlfriend, we live together and we’re only 20. She’s in college and I’m working and I mean it’s really nice, this is our first place on our own and it’s done really good for us,” said one resident.
“There’s a direct economic impact just from the construction activity itself,” said Charlie Sparks, President of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance.
Sparks says his city has kept ahead of the curve, staving off the effects of an economic recession, by rebuilding and reinventing, “It enables us to do a better job of attracting new residents, especially with this housing development and to experience population growth, and that creates more disposable income,” he said.
The projects Kokomo has seen in recent years are funded in part, by private investments, and are not public housing units. The apartments at Apperson will produce tax revenue for the city.