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Apartment project still on track

By Sherrie Williams
An Iowa Park Affordable Housing project continues to move forward.
For the third consecutive year Mark Temple with Casa Tierra SA-1 is working to bring an affordable apartment complex, through a tax credit program administered by Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, to Iowa Park at a site in the 1500 block of Johnson Road.
The proposed $6,000,000 Hawks Landing Apartment complex project would include 49 units, five of which would be market rate units.
While the company will not pay full property taxes, the project will generate property taxes for the City of Iowa Park, for Iowa Park CISD, and Wichita County.
There will be no cost to the city for infrastructure.
The apartments will include one, two, and three bedrooms. The affordable apartments will be available for those whose income levels range from $20,350 to $34,860 annually. The monthly rental rates will range from $490 to $824.
According to Temple, there is no deviation from the income range since the IRS and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs audits the programs.
In addition to 49 apartments the complex will feature an entertainment area such as a play ground, basketball court, etc., as well as a community center which will be available for tenants to use for activities. Security will also be on site.
All tenants will have to go through an application process and a background check. No felons or sex offenders can reside at the project under any circumstances.
Also, the complex will be fenced and feature retaining walls and retention ponds so as to not create drainage issues in other areas of the community.
Temple said before he looked into a proposed project in Iowa Park he did a study on housing needs and found there was a need for approximately 100 housing units.
“We did not want to over burden the community with housing, but we knew there was a need there,” said Temple.
Casa Tierra is a non-profit company made up of three board members, Temple, and two others including a home builder and a banker/real estate broker. The team works closely with developers they know and trust.
“The way we work as a non-profit we put all of the tax saving revenues back into the project. We figure we can do more good with the money by putting it back into the project than by sending it off somewhere. We do not do subsidized housing,” said Temple.
Casa Tierra looks at the housing needs in a community, if a community is striving forward with economic development, and if a community is looking to bring businesses in.
Temple said when he looked at Iowa Park he found housing needs and economic development projects.
Iowa Park currently has two other income based apartment complexes Quail Run and Colonial Heights, both of which were built in the 80s.
According to Iowa Park Police Chief Robert Johnson, the police department is very seldom dispatched to either apartment complex for crime related issues.
However, Johnson said they make a lot more calls to Woodbrier Apartments on Mary Drive. Those apartments are not part of an affordable housing project.
“We are not ones who put in a project and moves on down the road looking for the next one,” said Temple.
“When we go into a community we are there to stay and if we can do anything to help the community we will. We approach a project as wanting to be a part of a community and we don’t want to do anything that will take away from a community,” added Temple.
In addition, this year Temple has submitted an application under a USDA program for a senior citizen apartment complex which if approved would be located south of US 287.
He said a feasibility study has shown a need for senior housing and he is currently pursuing a project to help meet the needs.