By BECKY KISER
City-owned property at 10th and Walnut in Hays, commonly known as the site of the old train depot, is in the planning stages by a local developer to become the site of new moderate-income housing.
Michael Graham of Michael D. Graham Rentals, LLC, is applying for $1.4 million in Moderate Income Housing – American Rescue Plan Act (MIHARPA) funding through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation to construct a 48-unit, 2-building apartment complex, consisting of 36 1-bedroom units and 12 2-bedroom units.
Hays city commissioners unanimously agreed they would endorse a letter of support to KHRC during their work session Thursday. The official vote will be scheduled for their meeting this week.
Only cities or counties with populations under 60,000 may apply for the MIH-APRA grant and applications must include a resolution from the governing body indicating support for the project.
The city has been wanting to redevelop the former depot site with infill since 2017, but no viable proposals have come forth, according Collin Bielser, deputy city manager.
If Graham’s application is awarded the state funding, the city would transfer the property to his entity.
Parking concerns were raised by Mayor Shaun Musil for housing in the downtown area.
"I believe we have enough parking," Graham assured Musil. "I think there was 105 parking spots, and we weren't counting on the south side of the street at all."
The garages in the housing project are separate from the apartments, and not connected to any apartment, Graham added.
"Some people want a garage, and some people don't."
Similar, but smaller projects that can be awarded only up to $650,000 have been pursued by Justin Pregont, for Frontier Apartments, a rehab of the former St. Joseph School, 210 W. 13th Street and by Dave Van Doren for Hadley Center, 205 E. 7th, third floor apartments.
In other business:
* Kim Rupp, finance director, discussed documentation in preparation for the sale of approximately $470,000 in general obligation bonds that would provide permanent financing for the King’s Gate 2nd Addition special assessment benefit district. The bonds would mature in 20 years.
* Mayor Musil signed a proclamation in observance of Mental Health Awareness Month alongside representatives of High Plains Mental Health.