City council, county commission approve resolutions of support

When developers submit their application later this year to the Missouri Housing Development Commission’s (MHDC) for tax credits to help pay for the renovation of the former St. Elizabeth Hospital complex, it will do so with endorsements from the Hannibal City Council and Marion County Commission.

The city council approved a resolution of support 6-0 (Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker was absent) Tuesday night. Monday morning the county commission OK’d an identical resolution 2-0 (Western District Commissioner Steve Begley was absent).

“In order to obtain the MHDC funding they need an endorsement from the local city, but they want to go a step further and obtain an endorsement from the county in which the properties lies,” City Manager Jeff LaGarce told the commissioners on Monday at the county courthouse in Palmyra.

“Because of the competitive nature of the tax credits political and local support is very important,” said attorney Jeffrey Curl, who is working in behalf of the development group. “In fact, it’s vital in order for credits to be awarded. If Jeff City and the committee that reviews these applications doesn’t see the community is behind this, and will support the project, and there is a need, it won’t score high enough for a project to be awarded (the tax credits).”

Curl noted that the project’s development team of HillTide Partners and Belmont Development Company are no rookies when it comes to affordable senior housing projects, such as the one that is planned on Virginia Street.

“This group has a lot more clout and a lot more organization to them than any previous group that has tried to do this,” he said. “They have fixed the problems with previous applications that the state didn’t like about them. For example, they’re getting rid of the back wing. The state didn’t like that. They thought it was too big of a unit and was too expensive. By demolishing that part of it and making it 50-55 units, it’s going to be much more attractive to the state as far as funding goes.

“We think this is going to be our absolute best chance of getting this one (application) through.”

While the city council, which is well versed in the project’s details, approved the resolution without comment, the county commissioners vocalized their support.

“I think it is terrific,” said Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner.

“You’ve got a good project in a number of ways,” said Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode. “Not only is there a senior housing need in the city of Hannibal, but this will clean up the area and revitalize the building.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com