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Builder eyes South Heart for housing

A recent proposal to raise more apartments in South Heart is a leap in the right direction, city leaders said Friday.

Developer William Matson expressed his interest in building an unspecified number of apartment complexes during a City Council meeting in late December. He recently purchased an 18-acre tract of land, located east of Adamski Park, and has made a verbal offer for an additional plot near the town's golf course, Councilman Chuck Andrus said.

"We're eager to help with this housing shortage that we have down here," said Andrus, who wants to see more long-term housing that does not resemble a man camp. "It's just astonishing -- the problem with housing."

A recent oil boom in the area has been a major reason for the lack of housing in South Heart, Andrus said.

In addition to bringing in more permanent housing, Matson's proposal might make room for police housing.

"He has kindly, in an offer of good will, proposed that we would be able to use an apartment (for a police officer)," Andrus said.

After 30 years of service, Linda Mosbrucker retired from her post as the city's lone officer in October. Andrus is hopeful that additional living space will revive the part-time position.

"I'm glad to see that we would be able to house a police officer," Andrus said.

Mayor Floyd Hurt said Matson's proposal would also be beneficial for the community.

"He seems to be a very honest gentleman," Hurt said. "I think it will be good for the town because permanent structures are always much better than temporary."

Andrus agreed with the mayor and said the community would much rather see more "brick and mortar" style housing. He added that more apartments could benefit schools, strengthen local businesses and attract more small businesses to South Heart.

Plans to begin construction are in the development stage, Andrus said.

While presenting to the council, Matson inquired if the city infrastructure could handle the growth in population if the project were to be completed.

"We just need to be sure that the lagoon capacity can handle it," Andrus said. "And it will."

Hurt said the city is looking into expanding its lagoon with a fourth cell.

Not all council members were present at the December meeting, and Hurt recommended that official voting for the construction not take place until all members can convene.

The developer's final layout has not been finished, but Andrus said Matson is "very committed to the project."

Andrus said the council is trying to go about the proposal in a "thoughtful manner," which means coming up with "the correct plan, the correct place and correct time" to build.

The apartments may be worth the wait.

Hurt did not have Matson's contact information. Andrus released the developer's email address.