LANESBORO - Minn. - As a popular tourist destination, there are many houses in Lanesboro that serve as weekend and summer homes. Year-round residents are finding there is a lack of open housing for people to move to Lanesboro. The apartment buildings are at capacity. "If we want to keep businesses downtown and keep the thriving year round, this is one of the puzzle pieces because there are opportunities here and people want to move here," says EDA member Phil Dybing. "Lanesboro has a lot of small businesses. I'm a small business owner and to be able to hire people that live in your own community is an issue and finding housing for them," adds Elaine Edwards, president of the EDA.
Citizen group Lanesboro Housing Development Inc. and the city's Economic Development Authority are teaming up to find a solution. They're considering a few different options.
One option is to connect Discovery Faith Community Church, which is vacating, to the Sylvan Manor apartments next door. An architect has drawn up an addition that would add 22 more apartments to the complex. The church group "does not have funding that they need to repair what needs to be repaired," explains Julia Borgen, board member of Lanesboro Housing Development Inc.The church group would continue to use the chapel, and area seniors would use the kitchen and dining hall for SEMCAC senior dining and other activities.
Another option they're exploring is building a new 22-bed senior living facility. The University of Minnesota Extension is performing an economic analysis to see what kind of impacts this option would have on the workforce and property taxes. The analysis is expected to be completed soon.
Lanesboro Housing Development Inc. is having a meeting February 28th at 5 PM in the community room at Kenilworth Apartments. They're hoping to gain more members to tackle the housing problem together.