Kudos to Atlantic’s Community Development Committee and the local development group Shift-ATL for working together to improve the housing stock in the community.

For years, a major complaint has been the lack of quality housing in the community and some business leaders have even said that the lack of available housing has hurt their ability to hire new employees. Not surprising since, according to City Administrator John Lund, 42 percent of all residential real estate in Cass County was built before 1930.

The city has tried a number of programs targeting the problem including tax abatements for homeowners who make significant improvements and incentives for residents who build homes on lots owned by the city, but none have made a big impact.

This is, admittedly, a modest step, just one house — yet to be determined — that will be renovated and put back on the market. But the group asked the committee to consider partnering with them by providing funding which the group hopes to combine with grants and other funds to pay for the work and to its credit the committee enthusiastically agreed.

City Administrator John Lund said anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 is available in various city funds, including $55,000 in proceeds from the sale of the senior citizens center and up to $36,000 in a fund dedicated to low to moderate income (LMI) housing.

It’s an appropriate use of the money for a project that is desperately needed. By itself, it won’t solve the problem of the lack of quality housing in the community, but it’s a step in the right direction. And, if successful, could lead to an on-going program. The upstart group with just eight full time members is making a big impact in the community with plans underway to renovate the Downtowner building on Fourth Street creating a commercial space on the lower floor and short-term living apartments upstairs. They are great example of how just a few people who are passionate about improving their community can make a difference.

The City Council should follow through and support this effort after all, slow progress is better than no progress.