Moberly, Missouri, is tackling the rural housing crisis through collaborative private-public efforts, and it's getting results. Not unlike other small towns throughout the country where a lack of adequate housing stifles growth, Moberly needs affordable housing. The "Magic City," a nickname given to Moberly early last century when it grew explosively while serving as a railroad hub between St. Louis and Kansas City, is making significant progress. Slated for development this year, there are two multi-unit housing projects that are anticipated to yield nearly 300 new units, and another 8 single-family housing units are planned. Currently, five private developers are working on projects in the town boasting around 13,900 residents. Schnell Construction, LLC is developing the "Dream Moore Falls Project" in the 1400 block of S. Williams Street. This project will yield 193 units and is slated for mixed-use, including senior housing and multi-family units. It is similar to the developments currently underway in the existing Lantern Pointe and Angels Landing subdivisions. The E. Urbandale Development will result in 98 units of multi-family duplex residences.
The City of Moberly has supported these private developers by selling condemned houses and lots to create affordable infill housing across the entire city. Adaptive reuse of vacant, unused properties has many benefits beyond providing needed housing, including preserving historic charm, improving neighborhood blight, and bringing properties back onto tax rolls. Furthermore, the City of Moberly is investing in commercial development and infrastructure projects through grant applications to support economic development and future growth.
"Several years ago, city officials recognized the necessity of increasing the accessibility of workforce housing while addressing numerous blighted properties through strategic planning initiatives." Kaylee Paffrath, Director of Business Development at Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation, explains, "During these initial discussions, Brian Crane and the entire team at the City of Moberly truly took the initiative to listen to their community's needs and implemented plans to fulfill these requests. Presently, we are witnessing the positive outcomes of these endeavors and anticipate future growth in both our workforce and community."