Cottage Village earns $100,000 grant

© 2017-Cottage Grove Sentinel

Cottage Village Coalition (CVC) is up against a monstrous task: raise $800,000 to construct 13 tiny homes known as Cottage Village before the end of 2018 while staging a public relations campaign aimed at worried neighbors and a wary community. On Thursday, September 17, the load got a little lighter. 

“We got $100,000,” CVC board member Bruce Kelsh reported. 

The money—courtesy of a grant from the Presbyterian Women Creative Ministries Offering Committee—is a drop in the bucket of the $800,000 needed to complete the project but CVC said the funds would help generate additional fundraising and give the project an added perception of being a serious effort. “It’s going to help us raise more money,” he said. 

“We get the funds in two payments,” Kelsh said. $50,000 is expected in October and the remaining amount in May of 2018. Under the terms of the grant CVC received from Meyer Memorial Trust, the project must be completed by the end of 2018. 

“We still have $600,000-odd to raise and we’ met with the grant writers and we’re still going after grants,” Kelsh said. 

CVC is the boots on the ground organization for Eugene’s SquareOne Villages, a non-profit which headed Opportunity Village—a housing development for homeless individuals—and is starting work on another housing project in Eugene aimed at low-income residents. SquareOne received the Meyer Memorial Fund grant and purchased land on Madison Ave. in Cottage Grove earlier this year for Cottage Village.

SquareOne Executive Director Dan Bryant said the money would likely go to pre-development costs. “It puts us on the map as a national organization that shows the legitimacy of the vision. I think it will help us with other fundraising,” he said. 

Plans surrounding the development of Cottage Village have garnered mixed reactions from community members and have drawn ire from neighbors worried over property values. Initial plans for the community centered specifically around homeless individuals but a more recent narrative has shifted to focus on those in danger of becoming homeless including those who receive social security as their only source of income. 

“If we could build a house to have something to show people, I think that would be helpful,” Kelsh said. However, CVC has yet to decide on a model for Cottage Village or if the community will include houses of various sizes and floorplans. According to Bryant, the group could utilize the large shop on the Madison property to build a sample house and then move the structure onto the property once the plans for the community have been approved by the city. 

“We don’t have a timeline for going to the city right now,” Bryant said. “But the committee might have done more work on that and we’ll probably spend the fall working on it.”

Cottage Village must meet city planning requirements, including city codes for sewer and water services, before construction can begin. 

“We’re really going to have to get moving,” Bryant said. “There’s a lot to be done.” 

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