- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Communities in the heart of North Dakota’s Coal Country are moving forward with housing projects, despite political uncertainties in the country’s lignite-fueled energy future.

The multi-million-dollar projects will add to the range of housing options available in Hazen and Beulah, The Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2hKDICD ).

Beulah’s project is a 24-unit, $3.8 million complex where a mobile home court sprung up during the 1980s coal boom and emptied afterward. It’s in the final phases now with flooring and cabinet installation, and completion is scheduled for next month.

Fargo-based Lutheran Social Services Housing Inc. is the developer. The project fits with the LSS model of building in communities not generally served by other developers, said John Phillips, who directs real estate development for the nonprofit and also is a consultant for Beulah’s economic development office.

A Coal Country housing study identified a need for more apartments, he said. The New Energy Apartments will have a range of three-, two- and one-bedroom units. Some are earmarked for low-income earners, others for “essential” workers such as school, health or local government employees, and still others for people who are handicapped or have special needs, according to Phillips.

Hazen’s apartment development will come online late next summer. It’s an 18-unit complex targeted to older tenants.

The $4 million project was awarded a $2 million grant through a North Dakota Housing Finance Agency tax incentive program. The remaining $2 million in bond financing will be repaid over 40 years.

“It’s our hope and wish to dedicate the Hazen Pioneer Apartments to Hazen residents and to stay as local as we can. We want to try to take care of our hometown folks first,” said city Economic Development Coordinator Buster Langowski.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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