Morris to Participate in Dovetail's Eco-Affordable Housing Program

10/08/2007

 

Eco-housing is top priority for site redevelopment

 

Minneapolis, Minn. (10/08/07) – The effort to redevelop the former elementary school site in Morris got a boost from the Morris City Council recently with a unanimous vote to use Dovetail Partners as a consultant for their future model "green" housing development project.

 

This is an exciting project,” says Alison Lindburg, director of Dovetail's Eco-Affordable Housing Program. “Not only will it enhance what is already green about Morris, but it will help connect local building materials and their communities across the state.”

 

Dovetail Partners is a nonprofit organization that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors by collaborating to develop unique concepts, systems, models and programs. The Eco-Affordable Housing Program aims to meet local housing needs while incorporating green building practices and stimulating local economic development.

 

The City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, acquired the 17.7 acre elementary school site in May of 2005. Since that time, a volunteer committee has completed an extensive public process to establish a redevelopment plan for the site.

 

Housing was among the top priorities identified for the site. This ties in with the results of a recent housing study completed for the city. The study calls for phased construction of new housing units throughout the community, coupled with the removal of some small, dilapidated units.

 

“We knew we needed housing but we wanted to bring in experts to make sure it was energy efficient and environmentally friendly,” says Sue Granger, member of the Elementary Reuse Committee.

 

Morris has a population of just over 5,000, including 1,500 students at the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM).

 

UMM is a leader within the University of Minnesota system and in the region in its efforts to impact the environment in a positive way. A 230-foot wind turbine located at the West Central Research and Outreach Center generates approximately 40 percent of the energy for the campus. A new biomass energy facility is under construction and UMM also has plans for a "green dorm."

 

“We see Morris as a ‘destination city' for sustainability,” stated committee member David Fluegel. "By demonstrating 'green' home building options, we hope to encourage local residents to more fully participate in creating a sustainable community."

 

Green building aspects will likely include energy efficient appliances, natural daylighting, on-site energy production, and low maintenance landscaping. Like many communities in rural Minnesota, Morris has expressed an interest in design that can sustain multiple generations, with features such as accessible doorways and single-floor layouts. The project is currently in its preliminary design phase.

 

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Dovetail is documenting the experiences of the project and the green building certification process. Alison has also posted information at her personal blog, available at: http://greenbuildingmatters.blogspot.com/