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NHDC making plans for property development

Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 12:44 p.m. CDT

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The Newton Housing Development Corporation has grand designs to aid the city in creating and developing new properties, but that doesn’t mean they have given up on some of the current properties in town. 

Last fall, the NHDC allied itself with Habitat for Humanity of Mid-Iowa to create a new program called Rock & Renew. The new program focuses on fixing up and repairing local homes that are either in need of major work or general maintenance.

Habit for Humanity of Mid-Iowa Project Director Doug Garrett elaborates on what this collaboration has in store for the area in 2013.

“We’re partnered with Newton Housing Development,” Garrett said. “One of the things we (Habitat)  tried to do was help people who own their own homes that have economic needs and just aren’t able to get things done. We put together this program Rock & Renew with NHDC, and that initiative is to help people that own their own homes accomplish things whether it’s for weatherization, exterior work, or smaller projects, possibly on up to doing the roof and things if we have the funding. It’s all based on funding needs and availability.”

According to the NHDC goals for 2013, they plan to “expand Rock & Renew to four to five events a year to help homeowners on curb appeal.  These programs will be an educational program with hands-on training at a local residence that are in need of service. The service we provide will not only improve the residence, but it will encourage and inspire others.”

The City of Newton has noticed an increase in remodeling or refurbishing of homes more so than an increase in the building of completely new structures. Erin Chambers, director of Zoning and Planning for Newton elaborated on those stats.

“In recent history, we have had many more residential remodeling permits than new construction permits,” she said. “For residential remodeling, Newton issued 34 permits. The total valuation of the 34 projects that were completed was $479,269. 18 permits were issued for residential sheds or garages with a total valuation of $280,752.”

Chambers also explained the process to start one’s own remodeling.

“Most refurbishment projects in Newton require a building permit,” she said. “If you are thinking of doing a project, it is best to contact the Planning and Zoning Department to talk about the permitting process, potential tax abatement, and to see if historic preservation assistance can be provided.”

Garrett, speaking on behalf of Rock & Renew, laid out some of the things the group has in mind for 2013.

“We want to get a lot of people interested, part of that is trying to build our volunteer base,” Garrett said. “So when we do come back and do bigger projects we will know that we have the skills and what we have available for volunteers. Probably the emphasis for this year we anticipate on building on  properties here in (Jasper County) we just have to see how fundraising goes.”

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.

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