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Council OKs West End housing complex

Mayor: Low- to moderate-income apartments 'will fill a niche'

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 1:15 a.m. CST

STERLING – Developers got the City Council’s OK Monday to build a low- to moderate-income housing complex on the city’s west side.

The vote was 5-1. Alderman Barry Cox cast the lone no vote.

Yost Management Co. plans to begin construction at the end of the month or early November. The $9.3 million Country Lane Apartments complex, to be built on 7 acres on West 11th Street, between Avenue L and Woodburn Avenue, will have 24 one-, two- and three-bedroom duplexes, a community building and laundry facilities.

It could be finished in 8 to 10 months.

Cox questioned the need for such a complex.

Jeremy Yost, vice president of Yost Management, said his company’s market study found that other low-income developments in the area have long waiting lists.

Sterling resident Susan Welch, who voiced her opposition to the complex at the Sept. 20 Plan Commission, disagreed with that finding.

“I believe we have overstock,” Welch said. “I think our needs are met.”

She presented census data and information from the Whiteside County Housing Authority that she believes demonstrates the need for such housing already is being met. She asked the council to take time to read her statistics and vote at a later date. The council did not do so.

When asked after the meeting why he declined to support the complex, Cox said he did not have enough time to look at the information Welch presented.

“I found those numbers interesting,” he said. “I wonder if that much housing is needed in the community.”

After the meeting, Yost said the company is “very excited” about moving forward. The project will create 90 construction jobs and two permanent jobs.

Sterling Mayor Skip Lee said he, too, is excited about the new complex.

“It’s going to bring in some housing that I think will fill a niche in Sterling. What excites me even more is developing the West End. It’s showing people that the West End is not the forgotten part of Sterling.”

Also on the agenda

STERLING – The city was recognized Monday night for its efforts to save energy.

A Citizens Utility Board representative said the city would be getting 700 compact fluorescent light bulbs to give to residents, who cut energy waste by 115,032 kilowatt hours and saved $12,838.

How the bulbs will be distributed still is being worked out.

CUB's Energy Saver program provides customized energy-savings plans for households and rewards customers for reducing their utility bills. Go to CUBenergysaver.com to sign up. 

Also Monday, the council promoted Sterling Fire Department Lts. Michael Dettman and Wendell Hollis to the rank of captian. Matt Laughlin and Jason Williamson were promoted to lieutenants.

Dettman and Hollis are replacing Capts. Steve Marschang and Gary Dettman, who retired. (The Dettmans are distant cousins.) The department has hired two new firefighters to replace them.

The city also agreed to include two projects in the Whiteside/Carroll Enterprise Zone. Menards plans to convert its former retail building at 3800 E. Lincolnway into a warehouse and distribution center.

Rock Falls City Council members have already agreed to add the site to the zone.

Sterling also agreed to add the site of a planned 70-acre industrial park in Rock Falls to the zone. Rock Falls wants to built the park near the city's new wastewater treatment plant off U.S. Route 30.

The city also held a public hearing on whether to issue $33.5 million in bonds to allow CGH Medical Center to expand. There were no comments from the public.

The city-owned hospital wants to pay for the work by refinancing $26 million in existing CGH debt and issuing $7.5 million in new general obligation bonds. 

A vote is expected on the bond issuance within a month, City Manager Scott Shumard said.

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