Letter: Part of the housing solution exists on Yunker Farm land – InForum
For many years, Fargo city commissioners, developers and planners have expressed an urgent need for affordable housing opportunities in the city. More recently, a February 16 Forum article said 200 units per year are needed to keep up with population growth and housing demand in Fargo. Many exciting projects for affordable rentals are underway, including seniors’ apartments in the former Kmart location and a redesign of the downtown tower.
It is equally important to meet the demand for affordable housing that citizens can buy. Finding on-budget homes for young families and individuals has become increasingly difficult in recent years. The National Association of Estate Agents
that in 2021 alone, home prices nationwide rose 16.9%. New homes being built in the area are priced that are generally beyond the reach of first-time home buyers. Finding existing homes that are mostly move-in ready in the $250,000 and under range is getting harder and harder.
Fargo has a unique opportunity to help address the lack of affordable housing through the parcel of land that currently houses the recently closed Yunker Farm Children’s Museum in North Fargo. There are multiple possibilities and advantages to building houses on this land:
- If the 50 acres of land were subdivided into standard 7,000 square foot lots, up to 300 residences could be built. If even half of this land were used for housing (leaving the rest for a dog park, garden plots, playgrounds, etc.), 150 new buildings would have a significant impact.
- The land sits next to an established neighborhood with many other single family residences. Grocery stores, banks and other day-to-day essentials are already nearby.
- Schools on the north side of Fargo have seen a decline in attendance compared to the south side of the city for many years. Building homes here could boost school enrollment on the North Side, potentially, by hundreds of students.
- New developments often face the pitfall of a lack of trees and parks, but that’s not the case for Yunker Farm land.
Although the land is currently owned by the Park District, the city should consider conversations with them to see if a deal could be reached. The need for affordable housing options is obvious, and it is worth exploring all options within a limited area of land.
Keith Lehman lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Forum Editorial Board or the owners of the Forum.