Pickerel Lake complex has long waiting list

 
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Note: this article appeared in the Albert Lea Tribune, article by Jennifer Hemmingsen.
When Wally and Tootie Lunning heard people kicking around the idea of a new affordable housing complex in Albert Lea, they wasted no time.
"It hadn't even gone through yet, but we got right on the phone with Bob Grahms," Tootie said.
Because of their timeliness, the Lunnings were able to rent the only handicapped unit in the Pickerel Park Town homes complex, whose units were booked before contractors broke ground. Several families are on a waiting list for the affordable housing complex, which officially opened Friday.
People on that list are likely going to have a long wait before more become available. It took two years of planning and applying for funds, tax credits and incentives before contractors broke ground, and another year and a half to build, said Ruth Domack, President of Heartland Properties, Inc.
"We do have the availability of the land to do another 24 units, but we do have to go through the same process," she said.
Domack didn't say if Heartland Properties had begun the process to build more units, or is planning to in the near future.
Pickerel Park Town homes, located at 1825 Ninth St. West, in Albert Lea, is a 24-unit apartment community Developed by Newbury Development of Des Moines, Iowa and was made possible through a collaboration between Heartland Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, the Minnesota Housing Finance Authority, Department of Trade and Economic Development and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.
The $2.2 million project includes 12 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom apartment homes. near Pickerel Lake, has garages, surface parking and a playground.
Cousins Amie Baird Amber Larson moved to the town homes this spring. They both used to live in other town homes, but Baird's was too small, and Larson's was too expensive, the women said. The Pickerel Lake units are nice and affordable, they said.
"Everyone that's living out here is very nice," Larson said.
Mayor Bob Haukoos, who attended the ribbon-cutting Friday, hopes more projects like the Pickerel Lake townhomes are in the city's future.
"We're working to bring more businesses to Albert Lea, and the working families that will follow those businesses need affordable housing," he said.

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