by Audrey Henderson, Energy News June 22, 2023 Sustainability has long been promoted as a luxury…
By PAMELA THOMPSON, Northfield News
Jul 4, 2023 Updated Jul 7, 2023
Last week, more than 80 community members who helped turn an idea of accessible, sustainable housing into a reality stood under a white tent for the official ribbon cutting of Hillcrest Village, Northfield’s innovative housing development.
The short program began with speeches, culminated with photos of stakeholder groups followed by the actual ribbon cutting, and ended with tours through one of the buildings.
Scott Wopata, executive director of the Community Action Center, said the award winning housing project was recently recognized as “Builder of the Year” by Xcel Energy. The project brings together a mix of additional emergency shelter, transitional housing, and market rate/workforce housing.
Mayor Rhonda Pownell called the housing community “an amazing transformation” that made a difference for families in need.
Jane Bartho, president of the Northfield Chamber of Commerce, talked about the long-term impact community members make when they work on projects together.
Pastor Inger Hanson, senior pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church, commended the many partners who came together to create the sustainable housing community.
“Other things besides ground was broken here,” she said. “This mix of housing is a glimpse of God’s vision.”
Wopata explained that the bold new design created a challenging construction project that not only came in on time but also on budget.
“Two years ago at the groundbreaking, we stood on dirt piles and wood chips, imagining the possibilities for what could be,” he said. “Now, we have buildings with a colorful array of front doors. But we have not arrived at done.”
Wopata said future additions to the development could include another building, a solar array and a car charging station.
“We’ve made sustainable now affordable,” he said.