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Posted 2/25/13 (Mon)
Members of the Pollock Area Development Corporation (PADC) disputed several aspects of the recently completed Campbell County Housing Study that pertain to the Town of Pollock. The discussion took place during the PADC meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 19. Two of the main items of disagreement with the study pertained to the population projections and housing available for rent or sale.
Information in the housing study was based on the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey and the South Dakota State Data Center. Community Research Partners of Faribault, Minn., the firm which completed the housing study, used data from those sources, as well as their own research, to make projections and recommendations for Pollock, Herreid and Mound City.
(Editor’s note. A story on the housing study was published in the Feb. 14 edition of the Prairie Pioneer. Copies of the housing study are available from CC Economic Development Coordinator Ralph Hanson and/or the PADC, the Herreid Economic Development Corporation or the Town of Mound City.)
At their meeting Tuesday, PADC members said that the population projections for Pollock did not accurately reflect what has taken place in the community since the 2010 Census. They noted that the DairiConcepts plant had went through a period early in the decade (approxiamtely 2001-2002) when they were partially shut down and/or operated at a minimum capacity. This resulted in some families leaving the community to seek employment elsewhere.
That situation has turned around, and the plant is back at normal production and is actually seeking additional full time employees.
“In 2010, we probably had less than five children under the age of six in Pollock,” said PADC Secretary Delores Kluckman. “Today there are about 16 children under six in the Pollock community.”
That has happened, in part, because of families with small children moving back to the community. Those changes were not included or reflected in the housing study.
The 2010 Census put Pollock’s population at 241. In their report, Community Research Partners had projected a decrease of up to 35 people in Pollock by 2015. However, PADC members feel that the town is holding its own on population based on the families which have moved back in the past couple of years.
PADC members agreed that the other main area of disagreement with the housing study was the recommendation that seasonal homes should be used for rental housing. According to the 2010 Census, there are 49 homes in Pollock which are used for seasonal purposes. In the Census report, those 49 homes were considered as vacant.
However, PADC members pointed out that most, if not all, of the seasonal homes are used by their owners for a few or up to several weeks during the year, and that it would be impossible to rent those homes out for a long term agreement.
Kluckman said that she had visited with Steve Griesert, a partner in Community Partners Research, and discussed that issue. “After a lengthy conversation, he finally agreed that it’s not possible to consider those seasonal homes as potential rental properties,” she added.
Because those seasonal homes are not available for rental, Griesert acknowledged that Pollock could use some other, new rental units, Kluckman stated. Along with the recommendation based on the seasonal homes, Community Partners had also included a separate recommendation in the housing study that Pollock could use three to four market rate rental housing units.
One other concern with the study was the fact that it had not included city-owned lots that are available for development. Those lots are in an area east of the tennis courts on the north side of the community.
We’re still here
PADC members expressed frustration that the housing study had painted a dismal picture for the future of Pollock, and one that is not accurate.
“PADC is working hard to ensure that Pollock remains an active, viable community,” said PADC member Alvin Fjeldheim. “There is much potential for growth in this area.”
One larger project proposed for Campbell County could have a major impact in the near future. Developers of the Campbell County Wind Farm, which is proposed for an area south and southeast of Pollock, continue to express confidence that the project will go forward.
Also, CC Economic Development Coordinator Ralph Hanson continues to get “feelers” from dairy operators in other states who are looking to expand or move their operations elsewhere. A new dairy operation would have the double benefit of providing jobs at the dairy and potentially supporting DairiConcepts with additional milk supply.
In addition to working on and supporting those two opportunities, PADC continues to support other new or existing businesses and, in some instances, also provides assistance in the form of direct loans and/or loan guarantees.
Anyone in the Pollock area is welcome to join the PADC. Dues are $20 per year, and the organization usually meets the third Tuesday of each month.