2018 in Mini-Cassia promises to be a year of growth with announcements of new businesses and housing, a city square revitalization and a new neighborhood school system – and all the growing pains that come with it.
Officials in Minidoka and Cassia County said hundreds of new homes, apartment and duplexes are in the planning or construction phase but meanwhile people are having a hard time finding affordable housing.
On Hiland Avenue in Burley an 80 unit apartment complex is being built and three new subdivisions are underway, Doug Manning, Burley’s economic development director said.
The continued growth of new business combined with a low unemployment rate means new people will need to move to the area to fill the new jobs being created.
Manning said the lack of homes for rent or sale isn’t new but it’s at the forefront now because businesses are saying that potential employees are turning down jobs because they can’t find living quarters.
Tony Morley, Heyburn city administrator echoed Manning’s comments.
Heyburn has a huge backlog of residential projects waiting to get off the ground, he said.
Rupert City Administrator Kelly Anthon said the city has seven subdivisions with 200 units under development.
He’s never seen this kind of growth in the city and called it “historic.”
Rupert will also kick off a city Square revitalization project after its Fourth of July celebration that has been in the planning phase for six years.
Funding for the $2.7 million renovation will come from the general obligation bond, a community development block grant, private donations and city and in-kind donations.
The city has applied for a $500,000 grant.
In March the city will put the project out to bid and work is expected to be finished in the spring of 2019.
The base park improvements will include the central plaza with fountain, gazebo stairs, sidewalk replacement and memorial gate. The streets will be revamped to a large single lane of traffic
Improvements paid for by the grant will include perimeter sidewalk replacement, pedestrian bulb-outs and sidewalks for F, Sixth and D streets.
Other work is planned depending on how the bids come in and the amount of private funding received.
Another boon to downtown Rupert will be a new 10,000-square-foot Family Health Services clinic near the Square with construction slated to begin in January.
The new clinic will allow the organization to expand its services and promises to bring more people downtown, Anthon said.
The old Minico Auto Parts building, purchased by the city, was torn down to make way for the new clinic.
Burley elementary school students will soon be assigned to a neighborhood school in 2018 after the district redrew attendance zones.
Mountain View Elementary School will be remodeled this year and the district is planning on returning to K-6 grades at all the elementary schools in the city including White Pine. The board will take a final look at the plan mid-January and announce teacher reassignment then. The switch is planned for fall 2018.