An affordable housing proposal was turned down in favor of renovating the designated area to create a community park.
Karl Johnson, owner of Palouse Properties Inc., said the proposal for an affordable housing project was unanimously turned down during the Feb. 19 Moscow Administrative Committee meeting. Johnson said the proposal was to use the land recently purchased by Moscow, about 8,200 square feet between Lilly Street and Asbury Street, to build more affordable houses for Moscow citizens.
“We believe there is a need for more affordable housing in Moscow,” Johnson said.
Johnson said an example of why projects like this are needed is an average price for a house in Moscow is $235,000, while the average price in Lewiston is $163,000. He said this is because Moscow is surrounded by the most valuable farmland in the state.
“By using parcels like this we can reduce the cost of this land for owners in the future,” Johnson said.
Dwight Curtis, director of parks and recreation, said there is always a need for affordable housing, but a park is greatly needed in this area as well.
“Whatever direction the city decides to go in it is a win for the community,” Curtis said.
Bill Belknap, community development director, said the plan for the park will include improvements to the creek which runs through the area.
“An 8-10 foot wide pedestrian pathway will be put along the side of the creek,” Belknap said.
Belknap said somewhere between three and five people testified during the committee meeting, giving a decent amount of public feedback. He said one factor of the decision was money. Had the proposal gone into effect, remediation would have been needed for the land, but the park will require no remediation at all.
Erik Fink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org