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New city lots, new incentives aim at luring buyers to Perham developments

More than 40 residential lots are now on the market in Perham. Now, all the city needs are individuals and families to buy, build and move into town.

Lot prices in the Clearwater First Addition development will range from $9,000 to $38,000 for the largest lot. The prices, and assessments, were set at the Dec. 14 Perham City Council meeting.

Incentives are being offered by the city, for low and middle income buyers who meet the guidelines. Those who qualify can be forgiven of all assessments. It is quite an incentive, since the street, sewer, water and other infrastructure assessments range from about $16,000 to more than $32,000 for the largest lot in the development.

In addition, several Perham employers are offering incentive programs that help encourage employees to buy or build homes in Perham.

The new Clearwater plat was created when the city completed a land trade with RD Offut, to assist Perham Memorial Hospital in acquiring land for the new hospital project. As part of the deal, the city retained ownership of the parcels that comprise the Clearwater lots.

This follows the city's development of the original Clearwater Estates, in which 46 lots were put on the market by the city. Today, only 13 unsold lots remain.

Given the current economic situation, and tighter credit for loans and mortgages, it is doubtful that the new Clearwater lots will sell as rapidly as the first Clearwater development, which was launched about five years ago. But the incentives could help tip the scale for some homebuyers.

Another incentive may be available next year, as the city is submitting an application to the state's Small Cities Development Program, which could bring in $505,000 in grant money for residential, rental and commercial development. Perham Economic Development Authority Director Chuck Johnson outlined the program at the Dec. 14 council session.

For qualified projects, $160,000 in grant money will be awarded to eight residential projects. Another $160,000 will be earmarked for eight commercial projects. For rental projects, there will be $87,000 in grant money, or about $11,000 for eight projects. Private developers and business owners have committed more than $315,000-for a total of $820,000 in new capital for Perham, if the application is approved by the Department of Trade and Economic Development.

Perham tapped into the state's Small Cities Development Program in the 1990's, which resulted in the improvements of downtown businesses, and a number of rehabilitated homes around Perham, noted Johnson.