Vergas holds four meetings to help develop 15-year comprehensive plan
By Chad Koenen
Housing took center stage during a community planning meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Vergas.
During its regularly scheduled Vergas EDA/HRA meeting, approximately 10 community members discussed immediate and future housing needs in the Vergas area. The community listening session was part of a four-part strategic planning meeting to develop a 15-year comprehensive plan in Vergas.
During the community listening session, a moderator from West Central Initiative asked those in attendance if they thought that housing was affordable in Vergas.
Vergas Mayor Julie Bruhn said it depended on where a person lived in Vergas. The houses that were by the lake may not be as affordable, while the older houses away from the lake were more affordable for current and future residents.
Several people who attended the meeting agreed that there were two different types of housing available in Vergas. The concern about the older houses was that many of them needed some additional work and updates that new home buyers may not be able to afford for a first home.
Other members of the meeting said affordable houses are also getting more expensive and selling quickly.
Vergas City Clerk Julie Lammers said many of the houses that have sold in Vergas of late were sold in just a matter of days.
Bruhn also said a housing study that was completed in 2019 found one of the biggest needs for housing in Vergas was single level houses for retired people. She said Vergas is an older community and the single level style houses or town homes would allow people to downsize and stay in the community. If the resident were to downsize they would, in turn, sell, their house to a new family or resident.
The concern that was raised revolved around the cost of building these style of houses, while also keeping the rent affordable for residents. The group also discussed a desire to focus on bringing families to the community.
Other discussion points included the attractive low taxes the community offers, variety of housing options, parks and community opportunities, as well as Vergas’ small town feel.
In addition to Wednesday’s Vergas EDA/HRA meeting, community meetings to help develop a strategic plan were held on Saturday at the ice skating rink, as well as Monday night at the Vergas Event Center and in January as well.
Each meeting had a specific target and topic to be discussed. Wednesday’s meeting surrounded housing, while a land and use form meeting, youth meeting and economic and business development meeting was also held. Community input will be utilized to help develop the City of Vergas strategic and comprehensive plan for the next 15 years.