Affordable housing project proposed for Seymour

A developer is taking steps to build a 54-unit apartment complex in Seymour in an effort to provide more affordable housing and attract more workers to fill available jobs at businesses.

The proposed three-story building will consist of two- and three-bedroom units and target families making an annual salary of $30,000 to $40,000, said Sam Rogers with TWG Development in Indianapolis.

Rogers provided details about the $9.7 million project, including its location, to city officials during a city council meeting Monday night.

The apartments are to be built in a vacant grassy lot along Miller Lane behind the Poynter Ford auto dealership. The property is located in Seymour’s Opportunity Zone, which is a federally designated area targeting low-income areas for development.

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"We are very excited about this potential workforce housing project," Rogers said.

Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., said the project will benefit the community’s workforce.

"Companies are looking for employees, and when you look at the housing market, it doesn’t bode real well for people moving in because we really don’t have a lot of housing," he said. "This is definitely a step in the right direction."

Council President Jim Rebber voiced his concerns the apartments will increase enrollment at an already crowded Margaret R. Brown Elementary School. The apartments will sit across from the school.

Brown already is using two portable classrooms to give the school more space for its English Language Learners and fine arts programs. Built to be the corporation’s third largest school, it is now close to having the highest enrollment.

Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said developing the neighborhood around the school is part of the city’s long-term plans.

After talking with Seymour Community School Corp. Superintendent Brandon Harpe about the apartments, Luedeman said the school system is preparing its own long-term strategies to remedy crowding.

"I think they have some big plans between (Brown) and the high school," Luedeman said.

TWG Development is seeking financial support for its project from the city similar to what council members gave to Thrive Alliance to build apartments for seniors age 55 and older south of Schneck Medical Center.

That support includes a $330,000 tax abatement and $50,000 for sidewalks around the proposed site.

Council member Jerry Hackney said workforce housing and senior housing are needed in Seymour and both projects will benefit the community. 

But he doesn’t feel the council is setting a precedent of supporting such projects by taking advantage of opportunities.

"I wouldn’t look at that going forward as everybody that applies for an apartment abatement we have to do," he said. 

Both projects are contingent upon receiving federal housing tax credits from the Indiana Housing Authority. That funding will be awarded in November.

If the Miller Lane project receives the funding, the city will have to rezone the property from commercial to multifamily residential zoning. The property to the south already is the site of duplexes and apartments.