Purdy talks development

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Mayor Brian Bowers, left, administers the oath of office to, from left, Kathy Davis, Heather VanNote and Robert Moser. VanNote and Davis were initially appointed to fill vacant seats on the council, and all three candidates ran unopposed in the April election. Mike Gervais/Cassville Democrat

City discusses potential for housing with resident

City leaders in Purdy discussed the potential for development in the community and expressed a desire to see more housing, but pointed out that the city does not have funding to partner with private developers.

Purdy Superintendent of Schools Travis Graham, as new member of the community, said he simply wanted to meet with community leaders to float ideas and gauge interest in community development.

“I’m very excited to be part of the Purdy community,” Graham said. “I want to explore some of the possibilities that are out there. I’m an idea person, and sometimes my ideas stick, and sometimes they go in the garbage.”

Graham expressed an interest in distributing a community survey about housing wants and needs throughout the community.

The council said it would support any move to gauge the community’s wants and needs.

City Manager Debbie Redshaw said she believes there is interest among residents in growing the community, but she recognizes that there are challenges that must be overcome.

“I think we could get more people here if we could get the housing, but the question is, can we get the people who own the property to release the property,” she said.

Graham asked if the city owns any property that could be made available for development if a developer were to express interest.

Redshaw said there is no available city-owned property, but the council said that if a developer were to construct housing on property adjacent to the city limits, the city could annex that property into the city.

Purdy Police Chief Jackie Lowe said he is aware of 23 homes within the city limits that are not occupied. He said some are falling into disrepair, and others are in good condition and are actively being maintained.

“I moved my family here to stay here a while,” Graham said. “The people are great, the community is great, and I have a heart that wants to serve. I want this community to be the best for my kids.”

He also said 40 percent of the teachers working in the Purdy School District travel to the community for work and he believes that would change with more housing opportunities.

“We might be able to see a little growth happen,” he said.

Redshaw said she would love to see some growth in the community.

“The more people we have, the more people we have sharing in the bills and the cheaper those bills are going to be,” she said.

Council member Heather VanNote said she is interested in Graham’s ideas.

“I’m willing to look at any ideas you have,” she said.

Council member William Hughes said the city can always use help.

“We need an outside set of eyes because sometimes we overlook the things we see every day,” he said.

In addition to discussing development in Purdy, the city also certified the election results, administered the oath of office to council members Heather VanNote, Robert Moser and Kathy Davis, who all ran unopposed in last week’s election.

The council also voted to reappoint Debbie Redshaw as city administrator, William Hughes as mayor pro-tem and Jackie Lowe as police chief.

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