The Grant County Development Corporation (GCDC) and the City of Milbank are working to improve housing options in the community to foster growth and development. The public is invited to weigh in on the topic of housing and planned growth at an input session Thursday, September 15, at the Speedway Event Center. The session begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at no charge.
Mayor Pat Raffety, who has been part of an ongoing group dedicated to finding some solutions, says, “I believe the biggest thing is getting more people in the conversation – their ideas will make solutions better.”
Housing has been a growing concern in Milbank and many small communities throughout the region and state. In 2015, GCDC applied for and received a grant from the SD Housing Authority. “The grant allowed GCDC to authorize a housing needs assessment,” explained GCDC Executive Director Bobbie Bohlen. “The results are designed to help city planners, private developers, bankers, and the general population understand the housing market and housing issues in Milbank.”
The assessment is a measurement of current and future unmet housing demands. “The completed study is 108 pages and includes detailed information about unemployment and wage rates, economic trends, commuting patterns, and growth trends and predictions,” stated Bohlen. “As we look at the future of Milbank, housing is a critical piece of the infrastructure that will help us to attract employees and new families to the area and allow our aging to age in place. Housing studies offer good information, but we need to take the next steps by identifying our priorities and creating a plan.”
According to the report for Milbank, there were 2,596 people employed within the city in 2011. Only one-third of them lived in Milbank. The remaining 66.7% lived outside the city and commuted.