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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 30 2008

Fargo gives OK for senior housing loan

The Fargo City Commission voted Monday to let the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority apply for a $775,000 loan from the city’s Fannie Mae line of credit to buy a southside church and land to build housing for low- and moderate-income seniors.

The money would be used as a bridge loan to buy The Crossroads, 2525 17th Ave. S., said city Senior Planner Dan Mahli.

Mahli said that if the property is purchased, plans are to build the housing project in the next two to three years. The HRA would build the housing through the nonprofit agency Beyond Shelter, he said.

The go-ahead came as part of the commission’s 5-0 approval of its consent agenda.

Lisa Rotvold, a real estate developer for Beyond Shelter, said plans haven’t been finalized for the site, however, she said the commercial zoning of the parcel allows up to 80 apartments to be built there.

The 146,000-square-foot property is owned by Fargo’s Olivet Lutheran Church, and was appraised at $222,000 for the land and $280,700 for improvements, for a full appraised value of $502,700 in 2008 and 2009, according to the city’s Web site.

Mahli said that as the baby boom generation ages, the demand for senior housing will grow.

“Housing for the frail elderly is going to be a top priority,” Mahli said.

Mahli said the HRA would replace the Fannie Mae loan with more permanent financing early in 2009 using a mix of funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, low-income housing tax credit equity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME program, and other financing.

E In other business, the commission voted 5-0 to approve a schedule to eventually move the city’s garbage collection to full automation with rates varying depending on the amount of trash residents throw away.

Public education is to begin in January. The new system would take effect in September 2009.

E Fargo police officer Vince Kempf was also honored by North Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley for his role in Operation Speed Racer, one of the largest narcotics cases prosecuted in the region.

Wrigley said the criminal conspiracy had ties across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Wrigley said Kempf served nearly seven years on a joint federal, state and local drug task force in an effort to bust the methamphetamine ring, which trafficked hundreds of pounds of meth.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583