Carr hopes to help alleviate Hallock housing issue
By Anna Jauhola
At the Thursday, June 20 Main Street Social, a local contractor presented his idea to build a four-plex in the heart of Hallock.
The group met specifically to discuss housing, leading Robert Carr of Carr Construction to share his vision to develop a single-level complex.
“I was driving by the Catholic church a few months ago … and thought that’d be a perfect area to do something,” Carr said, referring to the now vacant lots to the north of St. Patrick’s church. “I’ve been in communication with Hugh Hunt and I have the opportunity to purchase the two lots.”
He said the church is open to the idea of him building a four-plex. Carr has rough plans of the two end units being 2,200 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus 900-square-foot garages attached. The middle two units would be just under 2,000 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and attached garages.
“They’d be connected and all attached garages that would be accessed from the north alley,” Carr said.
His biggest hurdle is the cost of the project. He hopes to keep it to $750,000, which would get the cost of the end units to $250,000.
“And that’s a lot of house for $250,000,” he said.
Carr hopes to get serious commitments from people who have expressed interest in living in a home such as he plans to build. Once he has commitments in place, then he hopes to build the four-plex, whether it is on the lots north of the Catholic church or on another lot in town.
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“This wouldn’t solve all the housing issues in town,” he said. “But I’m just one person trying to address one issue.”
He said it would help open up the bigger family homes for younger people looking for housing.
Jeanne Cooney said she understands what Carr is looking to do, but emphasized there is a group of people who simply can’t afford even a $100,000 house, let alone $250,000. She mentioned working with businesses that build custom homes that are lower cost, but nice houses, to build up the housing stock to help provide more housing for Hallock.
“Something like Dynamic Homes, I think it’s great,” she said. “One of the biggest problems that Main Street has is we’re always saying, ‘Let’s go, let’s get more business.’ It doesn’t matter if there’s no place for these people to live,” Cooney said.
She noted the person who owns the mobile home court on the west side of Hallock had once wanted to place a few double-wide modular homes in the court for rent. She also, apparently, wanted to set up a sales office for Minnesota and North Dakota to sell these types of modular homes.
“Again, I’m all for that because those price points are even lower. We have a lot of young people just starting out at $15 an hour. They can’t even afford a $150,000 house,” she said. “I think we really need to encourage people in town at all different price ranges. Then our community will grow.”
Hallock City Administrator Angela Grafstrom said low-income residents in town can also take advantage of $57,000 in grant money to rehabilitate their homes. The low-income range is $94,900 annual salary and below.
“That isn’t that low for most people, especially a young couple working,” she said.
The group agreed they and the Hallock Housing Committee must keep working on long-term solutions.
The group also heard:
The CaNDak Bicycle Tour that will be stopping in Hallock on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Sharlene Klegstad said she and other volunteers have planned several aspects of how to entertain the cyclist while they stay in Hallock overnight. They will be camping on the grounds by Kittson Central and using the showers and bathrooms in the ice arena. But as a host city, Hallock must provide them with entertainment. Klegstad said the group has planned to put signs along Highway 75 coming into Hallock from the north to encourage the riders toward their finish line for the day. They are working on providing chair massages to the cyclists. Once they’ve settled, cyclists can tour Revelation Ale Works or Far North Spirits, and then take a pool pass to cool down from their ride.
Evening festivities will take place along Second Street, which will be blocked off, and include a kiddie bike parade, a farmers/makers market, face painting, picture taking, a bouncy house, bean bag tournament, trivia contest, car show and appetizer contest. Becky Vagle will bring ice cream down to serve. One lucky cyclist and one lucky member of the public will each win a $250 gift card to Ronning’s out of Roseau.
Klegstad also mentioned they are looking for a great name for the event. She has received suggestions such as Bikers Bonanza Festival and Simply Cycle Celebration.
They also heard a brief update on childcare. Pastor Frank Johnson of Grace Lutheran Church said the state of Minnesota has finally approved the policies and procedures submitted for a daycare within the church.
This will give the daycare license for one classroom of preschool and one classroom of toddlers. However, external sources of revenue are still an obstacle they must overcome.
Johnson said Grace Lutheran Church alone cannot subsidize a childcare center.