New city ordinances in Wall are inspired by Home Address

Posted on August 10, 2017

Paula Jensen
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Wall, South Dakota’s tagline is “Window to the Badlands.” Thanks to the efforts of a forward-thinking city council and a progressive economic development corporation, that window is opening to dozens of new opportunities for this tourism-based community.

One of those opportunities includes a strategic focus on housing development to help overcome Wall’s dire lack of available housing. To help generate new ideas and access more housing resources, the Wall Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) joined the Dakota Resources Home Address Plus learning network in 2016 to help connect with other rural communities and learn from their successes. The network offers online support for housing questions, monthly webinars, access to tools and resources and bi-annual Home Address Plus learning network gatherings.

“We were invited to try the network before we joined. The first gathering we attended was very inspiring. We could see the positive things happening in other communities,” says Cheyenne McGriff, Economic Development Director for the WEDC. “We joined the learning network and took a housing “learning journey” that included tours of Howard, De Smet, Redfield, Doland and Faulkton. It was a real eye-opener for us and spurred us to think in new directions.”

With access to the online learning network, Cheyenne decided to post an inquiry about housing incentives to the other rural communities.

“We got an absolute flood of information,” she says.

“People told us what was working in their communities and even pointed us to other places and resources that might be helpful. In the end, it was a connection we made in Canton that helped the WEDC create a new municipal tax rebate plan and initiate a proposal to the city council in November.”

The city council moved to approve two initiatives.

The first involves a five-year municipal property tax rebate for newly occupied single-family, two-family, multi-family and factory-built homes. This rebate is designed to help encourage new housing development.

The second initiative evolved from an idea that came from a learning network connection in Phillip and will help enhance dilapidated properties and create opportunities for new construction.

“For just $.75 a square foot, the city will provide labor and equipment to demolish a residential property in Wall,” explains Cheyenne. “That will clear space for new construction while cleaning up some of the old abandoned properties around town.”

In addition to the new ordinances, the WEDC and the City of Wall were inspired to move forward with other projects designed to help alleviate the community’s housing shortage. These included:

  • A housing study detailing Wall’s future housing needs and specific recommendations for housing development, which was implemented with the help of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority.
  • The formation of a housing committee, tasked with setting specific housing development goals and plans.
  • Community Housing Conversations where business owners, landlords and contractors gather to discuss solutions for seasonal and rental housing.
  • The formation of an online housing database, which lists available rentals, homes for sale and available lots.
  • The creation of a “Housing Toolbox” which includes incentives designed to help encourage housing development or rehabilitation.

“Being a part of the Home Address Plus learning network is vital because of the relationships we’ve made and the valuable experience of other rural communities. Their support is incredible. They realize that helping us helps all of South Dakota,” says Cheyenne. “I have learned so much and feel like we are taking incredible strides in a short amount of time. We are excited about the future of Wall!”

If your community would like to participate in the Home Address Plus Learning Network, please contact mike@dakotaresources.org.

6 Home Address Plus Network Members Reported Fiscal Year 2016 Outcomes:

  • 9 new homes were constructed
  • 6 homes were renovated or rehabbed
  • 10 dilapidated properties were cleared
  • 31 new lots were open for housing development
  • 103 homes or multi-family units were sold



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