With one house nearing its finish, the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation and the city of Wadena are hoping to grow the community with nine additional homes.

The homes are being constructed in the Folkestad East Addition after the city reduced the properties’ assessments and purchased 16 tax-forfeited lots. MMCDC, of Detroit Lakes, purchased 10 of these lots and will follow the build-and-sell model for each lot. The first home is expected to be finished by late April or early May for $240,000.

“We are in desperate need of new housing and more housing,” said Dean Uselman, Wadena Development Authority director.

Learn more about housing needs in the county:

The slab on grade home will include three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two stall garage. MMCDC president and CEO Julia Nelmark said the 1,602 square foot home is a "building better neighborhoods" model designed for young families that are building their income base.

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“What we heard in Wadena was that our somewhat smaller home size would be very attractive,” Nelmark said.

The WDA, city of Wadena and Wadena County continued with buying the lots in July 2019 as Wadena resident Jim Kraemer sought MMCDC to complete a housing project in Wadena. The goal is to help the “housing crash,” as Uselman said, by adding new homes for residents to come to Wadena, people renting in Wadena being able to buy a home or community members looking for a home. The homes will also increase the city’s tax base.

“This will be a great way for Wadena to be able to attract young families to the community and provide very attractive housing for them,” Nelmark said.

Uselman likened the different partners to the community house project, which Wadena-Deer Creek students built and the Wadena Housing and Redevelopment Authority and WDA helped relocate and sell.

“It’s just a good thing when the different agencies can collaborate to solve a problem, or at least solve a piece of the problem,” Uselman said.

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The next MMCDC homes will be built one after another as they are sold. Nelmark anticipates construction starting on more homes in summer 2021. Many of their home projects have been purchased before a home is finished.

“Hopefully the housing market in Wadena remains strong through attraction of additional jobs and residents and just the need for that housing, and we can continue to do this until all 10 lots have a new home on them,” Uselman said.

MMCDC also works with homeowners on mortgages and refinancing including market rate home loans and rural development guaranteed home loans.

For more information, visit www.mmcdc.com/.