The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is asking state lawmakers to encourage more housing construction and renovation in areas outside the Twin Cities. In Austin in south-central Minnesota — population about 25-thousand — City Administrator Craig Clark says:

“Just to give you all a sense of kind of the scope in Austin, in 2020 we saw only seven single-family homes being constructed.”

Clark is asking legislators to change tax-increment financing laws to make it easier to redevelop blighted properties:

“It’s not a very good message to our community to say, well, let’s just board this up in the middle of town and let it set there and rot until we can find a developer.”

The coalition proposes new grants to help Greater Minnesota cities rehabilitate dilapidated homes, plus state funding for necessary infrastructure for new housing developments.