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The results of a study to identify the housing need of Gage County are in.

The Gage County Communities Housing Study was released this month.

Results of the study define a need for 446 housing units, including 283 owner and 163 rental units. A downtown Beatrice housing initiative included in the report targets up to 22 new housing units in the downtown area.

The 145-page study also includes goals, action steps and a five-year housing action plan identifying specific housing development initiatives.

Glennis McClure, director of the NGage economic development group, said the study will provide guidance in both the development and preservation of housing in Gage County.

She added that the results of the study aren’t necessarily surprising.

“I believe we knew that there was a demand,” McClure said. “We definitely saw a lot of pressure this last summer with more workers in town and seeing the rentals were in high demand also. We’ve known for some time that there’s a need for some more homes that folks can own or step into.”

The study came at a total cost of $30,000, half of which was provided by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA). It consisted of various surveys being administered by Hanna:Keelan Associates.

The study included examination of population, income and economic data and a housing stock analysis, among other factors.

Funding options for future owner and rental housing development and housing rehabilitation projects in each community throughout the county, as well as hopes to gather input from a wide range of participants, are also included.

McClure said the public is welcome and encouraged to read the results of the study and provide NGage with feedback. The document can be viewed online at www.ngagegroup.org.

She said community members ranging from real estate agents and elected officials to business owners have participated in informational meetings regarding the study.

NGage is planning a housing summit to discuss the results, which the public will be welcome to attend. A date has yet to be set for the summit.

With the study in place, McClure hopes the research will encourage developers to build in the area.

"I think that this study will help us and others see that there’s interest in this county to improve our housing stock,” she said. “I’ve already met some developers that might consider coming in and adding to or building, whatever it might be.”

McClure added other groups will benefit from the housing study. One example is the city of Beatrice, which will include information from the study in its strategic plan.

Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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