Sidney celebrated the Grand Opening of the Sunset Village Apartments on April 21, 2016 with a street party and a ribbon-cutting. Joining Governor Bullock and Director O’Leary to celebrate were Bruce Brensdal, Executive Director, Montana Board of Housing; Stacy Netz, Executive Director, and Paul Groshart, Retired Director, Richland County Housing Authority; Don Sterhan, CEO and President, Mountain Plains Equity Group.
Because Sidney sits right in the heart of the Bakkan Oil Patch, housing has been a problem for many. The Sunset Village Apartments will serve an important role in Sidney, where families struggle to find safe, affordable housing for their families. Waiting lists for affordable housing have commonly been two-years long, due to the high cost of renting in Sidney. Those that work at gas stations, grocery stores, and hotels cannot afford $2,000, and higher, per month in rent.
Funding for this critical housing has been a complex process and could only have taken place with the robust private/public partnerships that were involved. The Richland County Housing Authority and Mountain Plains Equity Group partnered on the project and received $4.8 million Housing Credits from the Montana Board of Housing. The partnership received $750,000 in a HOME Program grant from the Montana Department of Commerce. The Richland County Commissioners invested $1 million towards this important source of housing for their county’s residents. The Richland County Housing Authority donated the land and also $250,000, which shows the level of commitment and dedication they have demonstrated in Sidney for over 50 years.
This project began with the demolition of 28 units of public housing that was over 60 years old and in serious disrepair. Now replaced with 36 brand new units in three separate 2-story buildings, Sunset Village will address a critical shortage of affordable housing for families in Sidney.
Sunset Village offers a range of choices, with 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom units. Depending on the apartment size and the income level, the rental rates range from $360 per month to a high of $890 per month for a 4-bedroom apartment for those at the maximum household income limit set of $46,500.
Even though the apartments are designed primarily as a family project, Sunset Village does offer apartments that are specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and seniors. There are also great amenities at Sunset Village, including a community room, playground and community garden.
The economic benefit gained by the development of housing, to towns like Sidney, should not be overlooked. During the development of this housing, Sidney realized a boost of over 40 jobs and approximately $3 million in added local income. The recurring annual benefit will be 10 jobs and nearly $900,000, in addition to the increase in revenue for local governments.
The Sunset Village Apartments will serve the community of Sidney and its families, in many ways, for decades.