Working families found a new, affordable place to live when Village Commons opened in Savage four years ago. City residents’ fears about nearby property values and increased crime did not materialize.
With 48 apartment units and 18 townhomes for working households with lower incomes, Village Commons was made possible through the combined efforts of multiple players – the City of Savage, an experienced developer, a grant from the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities program, a grant from the Scott County Community Development Agency, and financial assistance available through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
“The Met Council grant was the first Livable Communities grant awarded in Savage,” said Mayor Janet Williams.
The $300,000 grant for Village Commons came from the Local Housing Incentives Account—funds intended to expand and preserve affordable housing for households with low to moderate incomes.
The Livable Communities grant program is a partnership with metro area cities and towns
The Council has awarded a total of $347 million over 20+ years.
The Big Payoff:
- 52,000 jobs created or retained
2,300 acres of polluted property cleaned up for redevelopment
More than 22,000 affordable housing units created or preserved
- Billions in additional public and private funds leveraged for communities’ benefit
More about the Livable Communities program.
The Council awards grants on a competitive basis to strengthen local economies and livability, and help expand the stock of affordable housing. As participants in the Livable Communities program, cities and towns set long-term goals for affordable and lifecycle housing and develop a Housing Action Plan.
“That funding source really helps affordable housing projects where the land is limited and expensive, as it is in the suburbs,” said Mayor Williams. “Sometimes developers won’t consider a project unless there’s a grant or tax credit available. With Village Commons, the grant from the Metro Council certainly helped to nail down the deal.”
Most residents of Village Commons are local – from Savage and nearby communities. “It shows the need for workforce housing is certainly there,” said the mayor. “The city monitored neighboring home values compared to the rest of the city – they did not go down. We checked police records and compared them to other parts of the city – no increase. All of the usual fears did not come true,” she said.
“Our focus then moved to the second workforce housing project proposed in another part of the city.”
Creating jobs, connecting land uses
In addition to expanding affordable housing choices, the Council awards Livable Communities grants for these purposes: