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Crookston Faces A Major Housing Shortage - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Crookston Faces A Major Housing Shortage

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  One northern valley town is facing a major housing shortage, along with a surplus of jobs.

  Crookston is flirting with zero-vacancy in its housing market, while having more than 100 job openings around town.

  A new motel is being built on the north side of town, where new strip malls and stores around Walmart opened in recent years. And this former grocery store downtown is being turned into a 12-unit apartment for seniors.

  However, only 7 new homes and 2 duplexes are being built this year this year. City officials say it's because of tougher lending regulations following the housing crash.

Dave Genereux, Crookston Mayor: "Restrictions got a little more… so that made it a little tighter and so apartments are quite full, hard to find."

  Generex says there are also several other factors contributing to the lack of housing, including 109 homes that were torn down to make way for the new flood protection system. And there hasn't been a new apartment building built here in 20-years.

  Another factor leading to the housing shortage is here, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Enrollment jumped by over 500 students to a total of more than 18-hundred in just the past 4-years. School officials say students are having a tough time finding off-campus housing.

  So, the city has approved a 13-thousand dollar housing study in hopes of attracting new housing developers.

Reporter: "It's basically a selling tool to draw investors to town?"

Craig Hoiseth, Economic Development: "Sure, we know we have a acute need. This just confirms that need and like I said, it really helps when you go to the bank and bank a project."

  Hoiseth says that housing study should be ready early next year, and with it the opportunity to draw new housing development into town.

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