New neighborhood nearly ready

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Ron Rogers of DCI Construction stands in front of the first of 30 rental houses that are being built at Iola’s newest neighborhood, the Cedarbrook Second Addition. The houses, built for low- to moderate-income families, are part of the River Valley Homes project.
From left, Hannah Specht, Allen Robb and Levi Flori of TLC Greenhouse of LaHarpe prepare ground for fresh sod at the River Valley Homes site this morning.
Each of the River Valley Homes features a fully equipped kitchen.

The first occupant in Iola’s newest neighborhood will move in as early as next week.
Iola officially certified the first of 30 rental homes in the new Cedarbrook Second Addition for occupancy Thursday, clearing the way for the first resident to move into the River Valley Homes complex.
As many as three more homes likely will be certified next week, Code Enforcement Office Jeff Bauer said.
The housing complex, operated by Mid America Management, Inc. of Springfield, Mo., is geared for low- to moderate-income families.
Tenants must meet income limits in order to qualify for a lease. For example, the income of a four-person family cannot exceed $31,380. Each of the three-bedroom, two bath homes will rent for $410 a month.
Mid America judges potential renters on four criteria: income and assets, credit history, criminal history and rental history.
With the first houses certified for occupancy, the first lease agreements should be approved sometime next week, said Travis Coley, district manager for Mid America. Each lease agreement will be signed on the day tenants move into their new homes, “and I understand some have prequalified,” Coley said.
Cedarbrook Second Addition covers several acres of what formerly was the western half of Cedarbrook Golf Course. The course was converted from 18 to nine holes in order to accommodate the new housing subdivision. The 30 rental homes are scattered among 60 available lots on the site.
Fliers advertising the rental homes have been placed at City Hall, on the company’s Web site, midamproperties.com, and along “for lease” signs throughout the housing complex.
For more information, contact Mid America at (417) 447-6303 or visit www.midamproperties.com.
Interest in the area has skyrocketed in recent days as construction of the first four houses neared completion, reported Ron Rogers of DCI Construction, the contractor in charge of building the River Valley Homes project.
Croley said more than 15 applications have been filed, with five nearly ready for lease agreements. Leases are renewed annually.
“A couple have already paid their deposits,” Croley said.
Among the visitors to the housing complex Thursday afternoon were Iola City Administrator Judy Brigham, City Commissioner Bill Shirley and former mayor John McRae.
“It’s going to be a beautiful neighborhood,” Brigham said.
Each of the River Valley Homes features all-brick exteriors, attached two-car garages and are rated as energy-efficient structures.

AS THE first residents move in, construction will continue at high gear on the remaining 26 homes, which are at various stages of completion.
The goal is to get walls up and roofs on all 30 homes before the onset of winter so that construction can proceed without delay.
“A lot will depend on the sunshine,” Rogers said. “If we don’t get indoors, we may have to wait until spring on some of the homes.”
Work crews already have sloshed their way through an unusually wet fall, Rogers said.
The goal is to complete at least four homes a month to the point that all 30 homes are available for occupancy by next spring, Rogers said.

MEANWHILE, city officials are hopeful that Carlson Gardner, Inc., the Springfield-based housing developer that founded the River Valley Homes complex, will build additional “market value” homes for sale in the neighborhood, Brigham said. Carlson Gardner owns Mid America Management.
“That goes for any housing developer who wants to build out there,” Brigham said. “We’ve had a couple of builders who have expressed interest as well.”
Roughly 20 lots are available in the subdivision. The city donated one lot to USD 257 for an Iola High School building trades house, with four others at the school district’s disposal.
The city has not formally set a price on the vacant lots, Brigham said, primarily because some infrastructure still is being put in place, such as roads and utilities.
“But anybody can make us an offer,” Brigham said. “Anybody can tell this is going to be a beautiful neighborhood.”
Iola also is working with Dean Developers, which hopes to build an apartment complex for seniors in the same neighborhood. Dean officials are working to receive tax credits for construction.
Iola recently received a $219,000 grant from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation to further extend utilities for the Dean projects.