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by Karin L. Nauber

karin@inhnews.com

At their regular meeting on, February 5, the Todd County Board of Commissioners approved a letter of support for the redevelopment of the closed Eagle Bend School building.

The letter establishes that the commissioners support United Church Homes’ desire to redevelop the building into affordable senior housing.

At their January 15 work session, the commissioners heard from Todd County Council on Aging Coordinator Verna Toenyan and Eagle Bend Council Member John Rachuy about the work that has taken place to get them to this point.

According to Toenyan, who has spearheaded much of the charge to make this new housing option a reality, lack of suitable housing is a county-wide issue.

“There is more need for workforce housing,” said Toenyan.

So, if there is a need for workforce housing, why are we looking at housing for seniors?

Good question. Here’s the answer in the simplest of terms.

If there are more good senior housing options, those seniors are more likely to move into those apartment settings which in turn leaves their current homes open for others who need housing.

“This building has good bones,” was one comment that was made by Vice President of Housing Services Cheryl Wickersham of United Church Homes  (UCH) when she was in the area doing a site visit.

UCH, which is located in Ohio, would like to develop three housing options in Minnesota. They currently manage the Harmony Apartments in Long Prairie.

Background

In early 2018, the Bertha-Hewitt School Board created a committee consisting of business representatives, seniors, two former school board members, two current Bertha-Hewitt School Board members, two Eagle Bend City Council members, Todd County Economic Development and Bertha-Hewitt School Superintendent Eric Koep.

This committee was charged with researching the potential for establishing a use for the vacant Eagle Bend School. . . .

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