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Pittsburg Looks to Add Downtown Housing - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg Looks to Add Downtown Housing

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

The city of Pittsburg is pooling its money with a private landowner in hopes of receiving matching funds from the state to develop moderate income housing. 

Since he's bought un-used apartments on 6th and Broadway John Kutz has wanted to rent them out. It's why he's spent years trying to renovate them.

"You have to realize that most [downtown] buildings are 100-plus years old," Kutz said. "And so any time you touch something and bring it up to current regulations can be cost-prohibitive."

Kutz owns TJ Lelands in Pitt, as well as several properties and apartments along Broadway. After years of trying to renovate additional apartments on his own, Kutz may get some help from the city and state.

"When we assessed what needs Pittsburg really has in housing, it's the whole spectrum. All levels of income housing," Pittsburg Community Development & Housing Dir. Becky Gray said. Adding downtown housing has been a priority for the city.

"One thing we know, in terms of community development, is that revitalizing a downtown district does more than just revitalize a downtown district," Gray said. "It bleeds out into the rest of the community."

The city is now pooling $350,000 with Kutz to hopefully receive a state grant meant to develop moderate income housing, to bring six apartments on Broadway up to code. It's the same grant the city used to springboard Pittsburg's Lincoln Square. But Gray says the prospect of downtown housing offers benefits the Lincoln Square development can't. And if Pittsburg is awarded the grant, Kutz says the money would shave 10 years off the timeline to renovate.

"Younger generations prefers more urban-like settings," Gray said. "So a lot of our Millennials that are coming out of Pitt State are going to the cities somewhere. So we're trying to create that type of environment so that we might keep some of the younger folks here."

"If I would go out to a vacant piece of ground and try to build a duplex; a little bit easier than trying to build downtown," Kutz said. "But without the state's help, without the city's help, we wouldn't have done it to the level that we can do it now."

Grant applications are due November 11th. Funds will be awarded in mid-December. If the Pittsburg application is awarded, work will start in February.
 

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