Public hearing on proposed project scheduled April 23 in Kirksville

Residents of the central Hannibal neighborhood that surrounds the former St. Elizabeth Hospital complex likely noticed that new signage went up at the site earlier this week. The sign, however, is not an indicator that renovation work is about to begin at the location, according to Jeff LaGarce, city manager.

“The sign is required by the MHDC,” he said, referring to the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC), from whom the development group is seeking low-income housing tax credits to help pay to convert the former healthcare site into a senior apartment complex.

According to an email that was forwarded by the development group to city hall earlier this week, all proposed project sites around the state seeking funding through the MHDC must have at least one sign erected at the location of the planned development. The purpose of the sign is twofold — advise the public about the potential MHDC project and enable MHDC staff members to easily locate the site during an upcoming visit.

The sign is required to be a minimum of 2 feet by 3 feet, include the developer’s name and state it is a MHDC proposed project. The sign must face a road surrounding the site and be done in a font size of sufficient size so that it can be easily read from the road.

According to LaGarce, the sign was erected Monday at Broadway and Virginia Street. The city manager added that the developer will reimburse the city for the cost of the sign.

“One investment group is in Oklahoma City while the other is in St. Petersburg, Fla., so we were happy to help,” he said.

The sign must remain in place at least until recommendations for approvals are made to the MHDC.

LaGarce could not offer a guess regarding when a decision regarding funding might be rendered by the MHDC.

“I have no idea on a timeline yet,” he said. “Applications were due three weeks ago.”

The MHDC has scheduled a public hearing regarding the 54-unit proposal for 11 a.m. Monday, April 23, at the Holiday Inn express, 2702 South Franklin St., in Kirksville.

During the public hearing MHDC staff will describe the development and accept public or written comments.

In late December, and MHDC voted to stop issuing state low-income housing tax credits. However, a federal tax credit is still available to investors in affordable housing through the MHDC.

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