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Published March 11, 2012, 07:42 PM

GF Community Land Trust Helps Revitalize Near Southside Neighborhood

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The Mayor's Urban Neighborhoods Initiative is moving to the city's Near Southside Neighborhood. City council donated city-owned lots in that area to the Grand Forks Community Land Trust. New housing will help keep that area viable.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The Mayor's Urban Neighborhoods Initiative is moving to the city's Near Southside Neighborhood. City council donated city-owned lots in that area to the Grand Forks Community Land Trust. New housing will help keep that area viable.

"The primary goal is just to revitalize this neighborhood that was once such a thriving neighborhood and now really needs that energy put back into it," Grand Forks Community Land Trust Executive Director Emily Wright said.

The Grand Forks Community Land Trust is relatively new, and the first of its kind in the state. Its goal is to provide affordable housing for low and moderate income families. The non-profit just received 11 city-owned lots.

"We have more families on the waiting list than the number of lots that were donated and that waiting list is filling very quickly, so we don't anticipate any issue there," Wright said.

The donation of these lots isn't directly part of the urban neighborhoods initiative. But the new construction will help the city revitalize the Near Southside.

"This will be a great partnership for everyone," Community Development Manager Meredith Richards said.

The Mayor's Urban Neighborhood Initiative started in 2007 with its pilot project in the Near North Neighborhood.

"It was never meant to be a one size fits all. What worked in the north end, some of that will work in the south end. But the south end residents will have their own wish list and their own needs," Richards said.

The Near Southside Neighborhood is one of the city's oldest residential districts with a variety of homes.

"The neighbors should be very happy to see new constructions in a style that will fit the neighborhood. It'll build the tax base, it'll bring families, it'll just be a real nice benefit for everyone," Richards said.

"We already have one home under construction in the neighborhood that's going to close within the next few months. And then we're anticipating building probably four to five homes per year, and that's a very reasonable, realistic goal for us," Wright added.

The 11 lots were the last in the city's Affordable Infill Program. They were left vacant from flood demolitions.

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