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Editorial: Keep housing incentive plan alive

It’s no secret that creating additional housing within the city of Worthington has been a priority in this secret for years. Last week, something noteworthy began getting done about it.

Officials representing the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. (WREDC), as well as the city, Chamber of Commerce and a host of professional services, attended the March 4 Nobles County Board of Commissioners meeting to advocate the adaption of a five-year tax abatement on all new single family and multi-unit housing projects within the county. Ultimately, the county board approved the plan unanimously.

WREDC Manager Abraham Algadi encapsulated the need for housing to the board by explaining both the urgency of the matter as well as the eventual benefits of residential development. In referencing a recent city of Worthington housing study, Algadi noted that 500 new housing units will be needed by 2020 — which, when one stops to think about it, isn’t terribly far off. Algadi also noted how a healthy housing market, and an increased number of Worthington residents, will assist in making various sectors of the local economy more robust.

The request for abatement was scheduled to go before the Worthington City Council on Monday night, and Algadi said last week that he was scheduled to meet with a District 518 Board of Education committee today. With potential developers already waiting in the wings to pounce on the abatement offer — at least two such projects were referred to during the county board meeting — we’re hopeful these other local government agencies hope on board with this five-year plan.

We believe that if there isn’t a complete buy-in on the abatement plan, housing developers will simply avert their eyes away from Worthington and look toward a more attractive place to build. It’s safe to say we simply can’t afford that.