In a special noon meeting Jan. 26, the City Commission of Arkansas City unanimously approved a real estate purchase agreement with Joplin, Missouri-based Red-Wood Development, Inc.

This agreement provides a written account of terms that already have been agreed upon for the potential transfer of property on South Sixth Street that might become home to affordable senior living duplexes in the future. It does not authorize any actual land exchange at this time.

Red-Wood Development has plans to build 48 units specifically designated as housing for senior citizens, with 36 of the units serving as low-income housing with controlled rent. There has been some concern voiced from the public in connection to the proposed location, however.

Charles White has attended all three of the City Commission meetings during which the development has been discussed.

When he arrived at this meeting, he initially expressed frustration at the forward movement of the development.

“Nothing is set in stone,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez.

The developer has five years to obtain the low-income housing tax credits needed to move forward with the development.

“They have to have this on file in order to make (an) application to the state for tax credits to move forward,” Hernandez said of the agreement.

If the developer is unable to secure the tax credits or if decides not to proceed for any other reason, the land parcel will remain public property.

If Red-Wood were to be awarded the tax credits, though, the agreement gives the developer 36 months to finish building the housing complex.

The agreement also states the expectations the city has for the developer, including the paving of a section of the hike-bike trail around Veterans Memorial Lake, the construction of public restrooms and the extension of an 8-inch sewer main to the property.

White said he felt better after the agreement was discussed and explained in more detail.