• By Kirk Gaw

If You Grow Smart They Will Stay - The Walkerton Housing Shortage

The leaders of the Walkerton area should continue to aspire for resident retention and improve housing availability for the young. Those who move forward after leaving school must seek other locations to live while building their adult lives. There isn't enough housing to choose from. Smart-growth money and principles of it directs our attention to the creation of a walkable, mixed-use community that foster economic and social opportunity across all sectors of the town's population.

Development at 201 Roosevelt Rd. in Walkerton, under construction, improves quality of life.

Innovations in financial and policy analysis according to "local government" ( ) are demonstrating that smart-growth patterns are not only more environmentally sustainable, they also provide more fiscally sustainable forms of growth for towns and counties by reducing infrastructure, maintenance and service costs through pedestrian orientation.

Generating more tax revenue on fewer acres of land is possible when the locations are in demand. Meanwhile, financial impediments have pushed local governments, nonprofits and developers to be more creative in their approaches to assembling development funding, incubating small businesses, and training the local workforce for new opportunities. A new guide exists, “Smart-Growth Money: New Funding Strategies for Community Improvements”explores funding tools and strategies that will help local leaders identify funding sources and stretch limited dollars.

Case studies are included that suggest innovative ways to successfully navigate financial hurdles. While this guidebook is targeted toward local governments and communities in California, the tools, strategies, examples and success stories draw from experience within and outside the state, and should be relevant to local governments and communities around the country, including Walkerton! Once a $12 million economic stimulus transformed West York into Dogwood Estates.

The “New Funding Strategies” guidebook identifies and describes current, effective and innovative strategies for achieving objectives associated with implementing desired projects like new affordable housing along the downtown corridor? This concise guidebook will be helpful for local government staff, elected and appointed officials, nonprofits, small businesses and developers.

Residents and other local stakeholders may also find the tools and strategies explored here useful. By assisting local governments and communities in the search for funds for their projects this guide aims to improve economic vitality. Housing goals must be evaluated considering the needs to fund units for those who want to stay in the community. The tools covered here allow leaders to help residents find nearby housing within the community.

Could leaders invest in programs and facilities that will enhance the Walkerton Area for tourist and visitor attractions too? The area has so many points of interest for those who come to visit. Many families have guests who are forced to other communities for lodging when they celebrate reunions, festivals, and holidays. Resident retention and attraction will enhance the character, livability, and well being of Walkerton. Providing lodging and conference space will even make it better!

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