Branson community concerned about plan to build mixed-income unit

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BRANSON, Mo.– City and county leaders in Branson are working to combat the problem of not enough affordable housing.

They have given the go-ahead to several developers recently however, one of the proposed projects is causing some concerns.

Developers want to tear down the old Branson High School and build a 48 unit affordable housing complex but, some people who live in the area have mixed feelings about it.

“Folks that have no other choice but to live in the extended stay motels will now have a choice to live in a full service apartment with on-site management near services and employment and other amenities they may not be getting currently at the motels they’re staying in,” Rhabe said.

The project isn’t a done deal yet.

Kelley Rhabe, of Prairie Fire Development said in addition to using affordable housing tax credits from the Missouri housing development commission, he’s hoping to get approved for a $25,000 block grant, allocated by the state.

The developers said they were approached by the Taney County partnership about three years ago, to help with the city’s affordable housing crisis.

“You know at the time it was a little challenging, finding the right site, for the right price and putting together the right deal at the time,” Rhabe said.

But some residents are wondering if low income housing is really the right deal for the neighborhood, like Misha Payne, owner of a popular hair salon right across the street from the property.

“I guess it just depends on who they would be approving to live in the housing,” Payne said. “With us being so close. It’s literally right across the street..And our clients like to be outside and..we’re very kid friendly here. A lot of families come here and play in the backyard. We have bonfires. It’s a very peaceful neighborhood.”

If approved, construction will begin next summer, with completion in summer of 2021.

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