Here’s a term you should be familiar with, as it is key to making a whole host of things better in Water Valley. Infill development. Infill refers to the development of vacant parcels within previously built areas. These parcels or lots are already served by public infrastructure, such as roads, water, wastewater, and other utilities.
Infill is the urban planning term for the rededication of land in a city environment, usually open-spaces, to new construction. Infill also applies within a city to construction on any undeveloped land that is not on the edge of the town’s development.
Infill has been promoted as an economical use of existing infrastructure and a remedy for urban sprawl. That’s right, urban sprawl, it is even an issue here. Housing built just outside of the city, which indirectly benefits from city proximity. Housing built outside the city benefits from the proximity, in terms of fire protection and lower insurance if within two miles of the city, but pays no city taxes.
Here’s what infill development means for Water Valley. It means in the big picture that people are moving here or choose to remain here. Anytime a place is losing population, it is a bad deal, as there will be more structures than people to use them. That means the buildings and houses still in use will drop hard in value.
And since value based tax assessment is a large part of how the city has funds to keep services and infrastructure up, a dropping population and building values combo is an almost impossible situation to overcome without raising taxes.
Last week there was a plan announced to build 27 new houses near the high school. That’s an ambitious plan and a total investment somewhere around six million dollars. That’s a big deal.
But it is not the first infill, there have been a series of new houses built on Wood Street, Lafayette/Askew Streets, West Lee, and Jackson Street in the last two years. All of these are new construction on lots that once had houses or lots that were overlooked. All within the city limits.
There is a range also in size and prices, with square footage from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet and priced accordingly. The trend is for a small footprint, smaller square footage, and the closer to downtown, the better. That’s good for Main Street, perhaps because of Main Street, and good for the town as a whole.
Make plans for Saturday, November 3, when the power will be out. Several Main Street businesses have already reserved rental generators, so Main Street will not be entirely shut down for dining or shopping. The cost for renting a generator, according to business owners, range from more than several hundred dollars to upwards of six hundred dollars. That’s a whole lot of money to keep the door open for one day.
Let’s make sure you plan for this outage and also get out a bit. It is too far away to give an accurate weather forecast, but a nice day would be a plus for the town and also the crews trying to manage all the updates and changes in one day. Make plans to be on Main Street, it will be humming with more than the noise of electric generators.