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Marinette Design Team Kickoff

On Monday and Tuesday, July 12th and 13th, members of the Marinette Pilot Design Team and representatives from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) convened for the first time to kickoff round two of the Rural Affordable Workforce Housing Pilot initiative. The pilot design team is made up of leaders and practitioners from the Marinette community. There were many familiar faces and new connections made that day, and although we missed the not being able to see each other in person, we were able to accomplish much and begin setting the course for our work ahead.

Our main objectives for the day were to establish a shared vision for our work, define the design question that we will work to solve for over the next six to eight months, and establish an initial set of core focus areas to guide the next phase of the pilot design process: Research and Engagement.

What problem are we trying to solve for?

While the issues surrounding the affordable workforce housing challenge around the state are known, we wanted to got take the time to craft a design question which captured how the team saw this challenge showing up on the ground in Marinette County. Here is where we landed:

How might we provide affordable, quality workforce housing in the smaller rural communities of Marinette County to attract, retain, and enable residents to thrive so that we build upon our small town and vibrant communities? How might we enable this by being an attractive partner for developers, making it easy for them to choose us?

Core focus areas in affordable workforce housing

Based on our design question, the team began evaluating the root causes at play in the local workforce housing affordability dynamic.

From this analysis, our next step was to prioritize a set of core focus areas that the team felt were the most pressing issues in Marinette County, and to guide where we would seek more information, and who we would need to connect with to learn more.

  • HOUSING DEVELOPER ATTRACTION & MARKET DATA : how the design team can collect existing market data or construct a proposal to complete a county-wide market study to better understand what and where the demand for workforce housing is in Marinette County.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE, COST OF CONSTRUCTION, & AGING HOUSING STOCK : how the county’s aging housing stock can be evaluated for affordable renovation, as well how new single family and multifamily homes can be designed and built affordably for working households in Marinette County.
  • NIMBY-ISM : how to change the ways that Marinette County community members think about affordable housing, so that they may see it as an asset to their community.

Where do we go from here?

Our next phase of the pilot design process, Research & Engagement, involves the team connecting with those impacted by the affordable workforce housing challenge in Marinette County. In order to tackle our work in each core focus area, the team divided up into small groups based on interest area and expertise. Over the next few weeks, we will be connecting with area experts, practitioners, and individuals impacted by the local workforce housing affordability challenge, to share their insights on the issues at play and potential solutions. Each group will design an engagement activity (think focus group or interview) to dig into the issues and learn from those impacted by the affordable workforce challenge.

Read about the Research & Engagement Phase / Coming Soon