Photo: Gov. Ricketts (fourth from right) joins community and economic development leaders break ground at the North Park Commons mixed-use development in Hastings

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts visited Hastings to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony at North Park Commons, a mixed-use housing development slated to add over 300 units to the city’s housing market.  Substantial funding for the project was provided through the Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act (Housing Act).  The City of Hastings and the Hastings Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) also made significant investments in the new construction.

“Today’s celebration and Hastings’ achievements underscore the growth in available workforce housing across Nebraska as a result of the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Today’s major groundbreaking is the outcome of our communities and lawmakers coming together to address workforce needs in order to grow Nebraska.”

This morning’s ceremony broke ground on two North Park Commons sub-developments that are scheduled for completion by summer 2020.  Pioneer Trail Flats will be an 84-unit apartment complex with a clubhouse and pool.  Osborne View Estates will feature 30 townhomes.  In the future, HEDC envisions North Park Commons as consisting of 70+ single-family homes, over 200 multifamily housing units targeting students and young professionals, nine acres of housing geared towards seniors, and around 10 acres of retail and commercial space.

North Park Commons not only will accommodate population growth in Hastings, it will also help to address the need for affordable workforce housing so that the area can retain and attract businesses.

Signed into law by Governor Ricketts in 2017, the Housing Act was designed to address a growing need for affordable workforce housing in rural communities.  Hastings joins the ranks of Nebraska communities that have already leveraged funding to increase local housing opportunities.  To date, 577 housing units with over $71 million in combined project costs have been planned in 12 communities across Nebraska, and more projects are on the way.

“We often talk about the importance of attracting quality employers and creating good-paying jobs to benefit Nebraska families,” said Dave Rippe, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, which administers the Housing Act on behalf of the State.  “In that regard, I like to say ‘homes are where jobs sleep.’  When communities invest in themselves and invest in their housing inventory, they’re making an investment in their future as well as their economic vitality.”

Rippe emphasized that the impacts of the Housing Act are only beginning to be felt.  The coming months and years will continue to see new investments and new projects, many of which would not have been possible prior to the Housing Act.

“Nebraska has already experienced incredible progress as a result of this legislation, and it’s just the beginning,” Rippe said.  “I am certain we will be talking about the positive impacts of the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act for a long time to come.”