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Habitat housing project moves forward

With the city of Woodbury's financial help, Habitat for Humanity may breathe new life into an unfinished and abandoned affordable housing development.

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday approved giving Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity $150,000 in federal grant money toward its plan to build 24 townhomes in the Garden Gate development's second addition.

Heritage Development only completed 16 of 40 planned affordable townhome units before it went out of business. The remaining lots were foreclosed upon, according to Karl Batalden, the city's housing specialist.

Habitat for Humanity has been working since 2008 to acquire the properties and complete the development, which also includes unfinished infrastructure improvements.

The development is on the west side of Cottage Grove Drive north of Eastview Road.

The city funding comes from the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Woodbury's contribution is on top of $407,000 in Washington County grant funding that Habitat for Humanity secured.

In a memo, Batalden said the Habitat for Humanity deal is good for the city because it will add to the property tax base, is in a good location for workforce housing and will lift a deed restriction that would have deterred other potential developers.

"Completion of the development will improve the quality of life of the 16 households living in the completed townhomes," Batalden added.

See the Feb. 3 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin for more details about the project.