The new developments are the product of a group effort between multiple city entities, private landowners and developers, according to Carol Eisenbeis, development and marketing coordinator for the city of Freeman.
“It is very much a collaborative effort. The city of Freeman understands the need for development and housing options. This is a huge investment in economic development,” Eisenbeis told the Mitchell Republic recently.
Like other communities around the state, the city of Freeman has been looking for ways to overcome a growing lack of available housing in the community. Located about 40 miles north of Yankton on U.S. Highway 81, the town of about 1,300 has several large employers, including Freeman Regional Health Services, Vermeer Manufacturing and two K-12 school systems.
Many employees commute from other locations to work at those businesses, but it would be ideal if those employees had the option to relocate to Freeman itself. Or, conversely, with the option of working remotely becoming more and more accepted in the business world, other new residents could work at far-off locales while living in Freeman.
“One thing in Freeman’s favor is that we’re asset-rich. We have green spaces and nice amenities, and right now so many people can choose to live and work from anywhere, and rural communities are a big draw,” Eisenbeis said. “(In addition), Freeman Regional Health Services is our biggest employer, and Vermeer is our next largest, and we know people are driving from the surrounding communities to work there. And we also know that there are more jobs available there, and how much better would it be to have them actually live right here?”
The first new development encompasses about 14 acres on the western edge of town. The Freeman Community Development Corporation secured funds from the Freeman Growth Foundation to purchase the bulk of the land from a private owner, along with some collaboration from the city of Freeman itself.
With the development corporation acting as owners, the city has agreed to bring in water and sewer infrastructure. Stockwell Engineers out of Yankton will be handling the design portion of the project. Bids for street and utility work are hoped to be decided by August, and the eventual plan is to sell lots in the development.
Two new housing developments are coming to Freeman, including several DakotaPlex housing units that will be established near the corner of Fourth Street and Relanto. (Erik Kaufman / Republic)
A second housing project, this one located on a green space near the corner of Fourth Street and Relanto south of the Freeman Community Center, is also taking shape. The property, owned by Sand Pike LLC, will be home to pre-built DakotaPlex housing units, which are constructed by inmates at Durfee State Prison in Springfield. They are modeled after the former Governor’s House program established in 1996 under Gov. Bill Janklow. There are plans for more of the units to be added in the future should demand require their construction.
The houses, which come complete with appliances, flooring and mechanical features, will be located a short distance from the swimming pool, the baseball and softball complex, fitness center and other community amenities. The two initial units will feature three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an oversized attached garage.
The units will be managed by Priority Real Estate in Freeman. The new duplexes will address a particular need for low-cost housing in the community, Eisenbeis said.
“(The units) are cost effective, as they order the materials in bulk quantity,” Eisenbeis said. “That property is currently platted for six duplexes for a total of 12 units.”
Site preparation for the duplexes has already begun, and Eisenbeis said that despite supply chain issues she is expecting delivery of the first two units sometime in September or October should everything go to plan.
It’s exciting to see plans to address a community need come together, even if those plans are just in the early stages, she said.
“It’s huge, because any available houses have been snatched up really fast, and we have so many people coming to Freeman. The Sand Pike properties will be reasonably priced rental homes with nice amenities, and the 19-lot housing development (on the west side of town) is beyond huge for Freeman,” Eisenbeis said. “It shows we are looking to the future and care about the businesses that have been established here and we see a big future for Freeman.”