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Evansville plans new west-side subdivision

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Gina Duwe
June 6, 2014

EVANSVILLE--Lower housing prices and proximity to Madison make Evansville an attractive home for Dane County commuters, which is helping spark development of the city's first new subdivision in about seven years, city officials said.

The city is poised to approve a new west-side subdivision because Evansville only has about 10 developable lots left, Mayor Sandy Decker said. More than 10 new, single-family building permits have been taken out annually in recent years, she said.

Area developers are partnering on the Windmill Ridge subdivision, which will have about 50 single-family homes on 29 acres on the far west side.

“This is a real positive because it's been so many years when we haven't had the demand for residential housing, and now we have the demand,” said Roger Berg, a partner in the development.

Berg joins Phil Woodworth, Robbie Pettersen, Daryl Fox, Tobin Ryan and Bill Albright as partners in the project.

The subdivision will offer a mix of home styles from 1,400 square feet to 1,800 square feet, he said.

“We've got to have different choices for people to select from,” he said. “Not every fit is perfect for every person. We've got to give them options to be able to pick from.”

The city council approved the preliminary plat, and work is underway on the developers agreement. Approval of that document could come in the next month or two, said Nicole Sidoff, community development director for the city.

The developers will be responsible for all roads and utilities, she said.

Windmill Ridge would extend Garfield Avenue, add a new road named Parkview Drive and dedicate 2.3 additional acres to Westside Park.

Utilities and a rough grade for the road will be installed by late fall so Mother Nature can compact the area through winter and spring, Berg said. Home construction would begin next spring, he said.

Berg said the homes would not have flooding issues, as was the case with a subdivision by a different developer south of Windmill Ridge. An 11-acre retention pond built more than five years ago will hold stormwater and eliminate flood problems seen in the subdivision to the south, he said.

DANE COUNTY IMPACT

The city is strengthening its connection to Madison and Dane County, Berg and city officials believe, especially after seeing an increase in the number of residents commuting north to work.

A community survey earlier this year found about 66 percent of households had members commuting north, compared to 55 percent in a 2004 survey.

Decker said she's seen that translate into a jump in household income.

“I think we're seeing some of the Dane County wages coming here,” she said.

The city analysis a couple years ago found the cost of living is 95 percent of the national average in Evansville and 108 percent in Madison, she said.

Berg's comparison found Evansville homes are $40,000 to $60,000 cheaper than Oregon, about 12 miles north in Dane County.

Evansville's convenient access to Madison and Janesville, good schools and a small-town atmosphere make it attractive, Berg said.

Demand for duplexes also is high, officials are hearing.

Some of the six duplexes Berg recently built were rented before they were finished. He has interest in two more that are under construction.

“The quality of the person we're getting is great,” he said.

The upper-end tenants include young professionals and teachers, though not all teach in Evansville, he said.

Sidoff looks at the growth as a young professional living in Madison, paying “extremely high rents.”

“It's a breath of fresh air. You can live a very, very high quality life in a nice apartment or duplex and pay half the cost of Madison,” she said.

“Evansville is kind of the first suburb you can reach where the cost of living is lower” but still offers a downtown with shops, amenities and grocery store, she said.



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