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First house in planned addition set to be built soon

Staff writer

The first home set to be built in a Marion housing addition first planned three years is expected be under construction by the end of this month.

Marion residents Chris Mercer and his wife Kristi signed a contract on the lot and house at the corner of Coble and Kellison Sts. two weeks ago.

Their future three-bedroom home will be shared by the Mercers and their three boys ages 12 to 19.

Chris Mercer said he first learned about the program when Marion economic development director Randy Collett spoke at a Kiwanis meeting about the moderate income housing assistance grant program.

“He got my wife and I potentially interested in it,” Mercer said. “What it’s designed to do is bring families and businesses to the city of Marion. My wife and I lived in the county, but it’s an opportunity to move into town.”

The city gave the Mercers a building lot and put them into contact with Strawn Contracting in Hutchinson, the construction company selected by the city as contractor for the project.

Project house plans have two basic options. Buyers have a number of ways to customize their homes.

Basic plans are for three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes with two-car garages, and unfinished basements with an egress window.

“We can tweak the home so it doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter house,” Mercer said.

A grant awarded to the city in December 2017 by Kansas Housing Resources Corp. permits the city to pass along $25,000 for each home in the project as an incentive. The money is paid to the lender.

“There are some rules,” Mercer said. “The major rule is we have to live in the home 10 years.”

Jim Strawn, owner of Strawn Contracting, said construction is awaiting some paperwork still needing completion and confirmation from the utility contractor.

Collett said the city contributes that building lot, grading, sewer main, and utility placements for the five homes intended to be part of the project.

Other houses might be built soon, Collett said.

“I have three other applications out on the street,” Collett said. “I’ve not gotten them back. COVID-19 is kind of interfering with things.”

If the housing addition is a success, the city might apply for an additional grant for another project, Collett said.

Last modified April 15, 2020

 

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