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A collective community voice wins the day for Royal Coach project


Contributing Writer


After a high-stakes meeting with a representative from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority on Oct. 21, the Royal Coach housing project on East Mill Street along the Thornapple River received crucial site approval late Friday.


“MSHDA has to approve the selected site and they initially took exception to the Royal Coach project being located in such close proximity to an industrial site,” Dan King, Hastings community development director, explained in comments following Monday’s council meeting.


Site selection approval is a crucial and mandatory step to receiving MSHDA funding through affordable housing tax credits for which General Capital, the project developer, applied on Oct. 1.


“If you don’t get site selection approval, you can pack your bags,” King said.


King and a committee of community leaders escorted MSHDA’s Dr. David Allen to the site during the Oct. 21 visit and also walked him through personally-presented examples of how important the project is to the city and why the site, located adjacent to and on abandoned Hastings Manufacturing property, is especially appropriate.


“It’s been a site left to disrepair, it (the housing project) is blight elimination,” King pointed out. “There’s the pedestrian bridge that leads across the river to downtown, to restaurants, to activity.  Plus, it addresses a housing issue, our need for affordable housing and, specifically, our need for workforce housing.”


But King said he never had any doubt of MSHDA’s site selection approval.


“I’ve got too much confidence in our collective ability to get things done,” he said.  “I’m glad (Allen) he could hear our collective community voice.”


The city now awaits MSHDA’s decision on grant funding, although King is not certain how soon that announcement will be made. Funding applications are accepted only in April and October of each year and, if General Capital is not awarded funding in the present round, it will re-apply for the scheduled April 1 consideration.



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