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Village On Board With Main Street Development

FALCONER — Mayor James Rensel said village officials are in favor of plans to redevelop two empty lots, based on previous surveys by residents stating a need for workforce housing.

One of the lots at 29-39 W. Main St. was damaged by fire in March 2017, while another section at 15 W. Main St. caught fire in January 2018, leaving people without homes and scattering workers of businesses located within.

Home Leasing LLC is a home development company that is looking to turn the empty lots into housing units, with the first floor of each building being used for local businesses.

“We’ve had conversations with employers and manufacturers, and some of them were on our committees,” Rensel said.

“We’ve demonstrated a need for workforce housing for their employees,” the mayor continued.

Rensel said the community is “certainly curious” toward Home Leasing’s plans, which is why the village held so many meetings about the topic. The community is receptive to the area being developed, and Rensel wants the village to have confidence in the plans. Those surveyed want to keep small businesses close to the residents.

The main concern from the public was knowing the reputation of Home Leasing and what other projects the company had worked on in the past.

“That’s why we held those public meetings,” Rensel said, “to give people an opportunity to hear from them directly.”

The last public meeting was held Aug 13. A lot of questions were asked about financing and the affordability of one of the building’s homes.

“We keep the units available for people that earn under a certain wage, and we make sure to keep the rent affordable,” said Jennifer Higgins, development manager of Home Leasing. “We don’t kick people out if they start making more than the wage limit once they’ve moved in.”

Rensel said the next step is developing and approving plans for the lots.

“It could be over a year before the first shovel goes into the ground,” he said. “We needed to bring the public up to speed with these meetings because all they’ve been seeing is an empty lot that’s been cleared. Hard work isn’t always apparent when you drive by a place.”

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