Housing is one key element in striving to grow Beloit’s population.
What is workforce housing? That’s the question to be answered as Beloit authorities contemplate a proposal to develop residential units west of the Rock River, intended to create more options for working families.
Facts are few and will be forthcoming as the proposal is brought forward for city consideration. Withholding judgment until the plan is fleshed out is the reasonable approach.
Having said that, however, a key point remains.
Decade after decade, as visitors enter the city, they see the signs showing Beloit’s population hovering right around the 36,000 mark. Occasionally, up a little. Other times, down a little.
And longtime readers may recall a few years back, when the Beloit Daily News published an in-depth study of the Latino population, one clear conclusion is that without Hispanic growth the city would have lost substantial numbers.
Meanwhile, in the Gateway Business Park and the City Center among other places, Beloit has witnessed the creation of thousands of new jobs.
That’s a disconnect. Where are those people living? Despite incredible improvements over the past quarter-century or so, Beloit has not been competitive enough in the regional population contest.
Whether it’s a city or a business or a household’s paycheck, if the condition is stagnant then the actual movement is backwards. There’s a reason Wisconsin’s state motto is “Forward.”
Making progress on the housing front can be a crucial element toward developing a full-service community. Giving people a reason to live here and the properties to do so seems a reasonable step toward creating forward momentum.
A workforce housing project could be part of the solution. We look forward to hearing details of the plan, and urge the community to listen carefully.