Mayor Steve Allender is thinking big and out of the box these days as he begins to tackle Rapid City’s affordable housing shortage.
Allender is looking at tiny houses as part of the solution in a community where jobs that pay even $14 an hour are difficult to find.
But now, the mayor is going from the talking to the doing stage in an unprecedented effort to open more doors for those working-class residents who want to call Rapid City home.
The Journal reported last week that Allender is working with a private developer and Neighborworks Dakota Home Resources to build five tiny townhomes near the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
They would be from 360 to 968 square feet with attached garages. The prices are expected to range from $100,000 to $142,000. Those who seek to purchase a unit could receive help with the down payment and closing costs, assistance that likely would come from Neighborworks, an established nonprofit that helps local residents buy, repair and keep their homes.
If all goes as planned, work could begin in February or March on the townhomes. Mayor Allender hopes the project eventually will pave the way for 100 or more tiny homes in Rapid City, which would be a remarkable achievement.