City solicits public input on sale of land for affordable housing project

The approximate location of a planned 55-unit affordable housing apartment complex called RiverWalk Village located at approximately 2450 East and Dinosaur Crossing Drive, St. George, Utah, Nov. 12, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George city officials are inviting the public to give comment on a pending land sale in the Dinosaur Crossing area to make way for a project that promises to deliver much-needed affordable housing units.

Future location of RiverWalk Village, an affordable housing project planned for construction at approximately 2450 East and Dinosaur Crossing Drive in St. George, Utah | Image courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News

During this Thursday’s 5 p.m. City Council meeting at St. George City Hall, a public hearing will be held to discuss the sale of a significant parcel of property with an estimated fair market value of just over $500,000 located at approximately 2450 East Street and Dinosaur Crossing Drive.

The project planned for the property is a three-story, 55-unit apartment complex called RiverWalk Village. The complex is slated to be built on the 4.7-acre parcel just east of Millcreek High School behind the new Grayhawk development. Units will be a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-room apartments.

“This is a key part of our overall housing plan. We need this badly,” Mayor Jon Pike said of the planned project.

The $10 million-plus project is being funded by a combination of government grants and private donations. It will feature a mix of market-rate units, units supplied via vouchers from the St. George Housing Authority and units offered on a sliding scale based on income.

Read more: Affordable housing project moves forward

The project is being spearheaded by Friends of Switchpoint, the nonprofit group that runs Switchpoint Community Resource Center in St. George.

Architect rendering of RiverWalk Village housing units | Image courtesy of GEN Architecture, St. George News

“For anyone that doesn’t understand the lack of affordable housing, our market study that we just had updated showed that we still have over 1,800 units that we need today in the affordable range,” Switchpoint Executive Director Carol Hollowell said.

Read more: Apartments ‘significantly short in supply’

The apartment units are being aimed at the “working poor,” according to the project’s developers.

“These are people that are working – and hard working. They just can’t afford some of our housing prices. So this is needed,” Councilman Jimmie Hughes said.

The project’s long-term outlook will be made possible in part by tax credits.

“It’s an apartment complex that will stay affordable forever,” Hollowell said.

St. George News Senior Reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this report.

Meeting details

  • What: Public hearing on land sale.
  • When: Thursday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m.
  • Where: St. George City Hall, 175 N. 200 East, St. George.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • Not_So_Much November 13, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I can’t help but wonder if this is just more socialism from government? While a worthy endeavor in most minds, when did it become taxpayers responsibility to ‘fix’? Are there no free market solutions? Could this $500k be put to some other use that is clearly the city’s responsibility? Of course we always need to look at who’s making money from this and will this contribute to a ‘necessary’ tax increase down the road?

    • Comment November 13, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      This area is a resort/tourist/retirement based economy, and that’s made housing very unaffordable for people working service jobs. Your free markets have increased the prices of housing massively, while keeping wages repressed. If you can dream up a “free market solution” to this problem I’d certainly love to hear it…

      • Carpe Diem November 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm

        Travel around a bit… compared to many areas the prices of homes arent that bad here. Rents everywhere are through the roof though.

    • tazzman November 13, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      I hate to break it to you, but much local government is meddling and for good reason. Do you want to eliminate zoning laws too?

  • KR567 November 13, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Follow the money

  • Comment November 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    So there is a need for 1800 units, but they are building only 55? My prediction is there’s already some kind of waiting list, so these 55 are probably booked before they’re even built. Unfortunately there is an essentially infinite number of poor people, and more are constantly drifting into our area from all over the country (plus the ones drifting in from out of the country). This project will make a tiny dent in the problem for a short amount of time, but what’s the long term solution?

    • Carpe Diem November 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Take a drive along the Airport Beltway… look into AZ… an RV city has popped up. There is one behind Virgin as well.

    • tazzman November 13, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      What’s the long-term solution? Smart growth, sustainable growth.

      • Comment November 13, 2018 at 6:57 pm

        Totally against what local politicians and their developer cronies are pushing for. It simply won’t happen.

  • Redbud November 13, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Wish they would open the first legal brothel house in St George. Would provide much needed funds for the county.

    • iceplant November 14, 2018 at 7:40 am

      LOL
      You would want something like this.

  • jaltair November 13, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    The meeting is perfunctory, the deals have been made. I agree, follow the money.

    Question – Where are these 1800 “unhoused needing housing” living now?

    I’ve seen this type of low-cost places come in for Section 8 and they get run down quickly and bring in poorer people; instead of helping the issue, it drives a problem and creates more problems. Crime increases and I don’t want theft and vandalism to increase in St George, I don’t want my home broken in to.

    People who benefit are the ones that make money off low-cost housing and like developers/builders, the educational system. I question that the housing is perhaps encouraging the illegals who are employed in the building industry and other service industries. I know when people come in illegally, they have a difficult time finding a place to live because of the history that has to be put down on forms and there is no US history of residence, etc – unless they have a lot of fake I.D.’s. A lot of illegals are paid cash and they work for much less money. Perhaps those who employ the should pay more for their services. This would force the economics of free-enterprise. People may have to pay more for what they want (i.e.: restaurants, builders, whatever), but that’s better than taxing everyone to supplement builders’ and other industry needs by allowing them to hire the illegal workers. That would be the best.

    I don’t believe that it’s aimed at the working poor. The working poor find places to live all the time. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that the deals haven’t already been made, but I know there is salivating going on!

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