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New Dunn County group to tackle housing issues

MENOMONIE, Wis. -- The final step has been taken to establish a work group in Dunn County to address the pressing issue of a lack of adequate housing throughout the county.

“The County Board believes that it is essential to find ways to provide our residents with more housing choices at prices they can afford if the county is going to continue to grow,” said Kris Korpela, county manager, in announcing the members of the Housing Study Implementation Work Group. “This work group will be responsible for developing a plan that can fulfill that goal.”

The county Planning, Resource and Development Committee voted in May to establish the work group and asked Korpela to nominate members. County Board Chair Kelly McCullough has approved formation of the group. and the committee has approved the following members:

County Board members Diane Morehouse and Tom Quinn; Menomonie City Administrator Eric Atkinson; Momentum West Executive Director Steve Jahn; Dunn County Department of Human Services Director Paula Winter; Dunn County Housing Advisory Team member Louisa Gerisimo; Dunn County township chair Bob Cook; and community member Rob McDougall.

Korpela and Planning and Zoning Administrator Anne Wodarczyk will serve as co-chairs of the work group. Korpela also said that Jahn is not an official member of the work group but will sit on it because Momentum West has been actively working on housing issues in the region.

In 2022, the county asked the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to prepare a study on the status of housing across the county. That study, given to the county earlier this year, concluded that more rental stock was necessary since more than a third of renters said they lived where they did because of a lack of desired housing elsewhere, and half of the renters said a lack of quality rental housing was one of the key issues facing their community.

Top housing concerns for homeowners were the cost of buying a home (54 percent) and property taxes (36 percent). Some 65 percent of respondents said there is a need for smaller single family starter homes, and 29 percent said there is a need for housing for senior citizens.

Korpela said the intent of the work group is to create a plan and work for its implementation to address the concerns raised in the housing study. The group will report monthly to the county planning committee.

Media release from Dunn County.


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