New jobs in Arkansas City leads to housing shortage

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Wichita, Kan-- Arkansas City is trying to figure out how to house 300 new employees expected to be hired at a local company.

Creekstone Farms just north of Arkansas City already employs 800 workers. Adding 300 more will be a big boom to the area economy, but Ark City, Winfield and Cowley County are finding themselves in a predicament.

"Very limited," said Arkansas City City Manager Nick Hernandez. "Our apartment complexes are full, single family are full."

He's calling it a housing crisis. With very few 3 to 4 bedroom homes on the market for new families hoping to move in, the local economic development group along with the city and county conducted a $20,000 survey. The results show something must be done and quickly.

"We have a percentage of individuals who live in 3 or 4 bedroom homes who are retired and may be ready to downsize a little bit, " said Hernandez.

There's a plan to tear down an old hospital in Ark City and build a 90-unit apartment complex.

Real estate agent Sue Turney says she's not in panic mode just yet. She too is working with developers who are hoping to buy and build in time for the influx of new Creekstone employees.

"I'm hoping they will come in slow and steady enough that we can get them in and get them in homes when they get here,"said Turney.

Creekstone plans to start hiring within the next 6 to 8 months.

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