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Wendy Reuer, Published January 29 2012

Dilworth continuing incentives for Summerwood Addition lots

DILWORTH – After the 2008 housing crisis made its way here, the city found itself in the business of selling residential lots.

In 2010, the city council decided to offer special incentives on lots in the Summerwood Addition such as up to nearly $10,000 in tax abatements.

On Monday, the council decided it would have to continue those incentives.

Summerwood is a 75-lot addition, north of Sixth Avenue Northeast and east of Seventh Street Northeast that includes a central park and man-made pond, similar to south Fargo’s Bluemont Lakes.

To help market the lots and get out of the business of selling homes, the council decided in 2010 to begin a trial incentive program for one year.

Of the 75 lots, 36 lots have been sold and 15 homes are built. But 39 lots remain up for grabs.

Along with special tax incentives, the city is also offering free utilities up to two years or $2,000, a free family pool pass for two years and mowing of the lots by the city until building begins.

“It’s not just the lots, it’s a lifestyle we’re selling,” Olson said.

Olson said Dilworth has the quintessential small-town atmosphere, but its proximity to Moorhead and Fargo offers metro amenities.

Summerwood resident Nick Anderson agrees Dilworth offers a special lifestyle. He grew up in Moorhead, and when he was looking for a new home, he wanted to stay in Moorhead. Instead, he and his family ended up in Dilworth, as one of the first to move into the Summerwood Addition.

Anderson moved to Summerwood while it was still under the oversight of a private developer, who eventually had to turn the land back to the city. He said he “almost wishes we would have waited,” to get in on the deals now offered by the city. But, Anderson said, he has no regrets about choosing Dilworth.

“It’s a great neighborhood. It’s nice and quiet,” Anderson said.

Summerwood’s first addition was planned to feature $130,000 to $350,000 homes on lot sizes of up to an acre, developer Andy Skatvold told The Forum in 2006. At that time, Skatvold said five more additions could one day be built for a total of 360 lots.

Olson said the city is still growing, but he and the council want potential residents to think of Dilworth as an option when considering a move in the metro area.

“We simplified everything; we’ve been pushing the bottom dollar,” Olson said.

Like the housing market, commercial building also slowed after the start of a national recession in 2008. Yet, Dilworth saw the opening of CVS Pharmacy and the Dollar Tree Store in 2011 as signs of good to come, Olson said.

Olson is hoping along with residential, business in Dilworth will continue to grow.

“We have a lot to offer,” Olson said. “All you have to do is check it out, and you’ll see.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530