Workforce housing is Spearfish’s second biggest challenge, right behind workforce and just ahead of daycare, according to Kory Menken, Executive Director of Spearfish Economic Development. The three issues play into each other. Businesses want to grow but they can’t grow without the workforce, and new workers can’t relocate to Spearfish if they can’t find daycare or housing they can afford. It’s something Menken and Spearfish leaders are considering as the town looks to attract companies and employers from five target industries:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Professional and Government Services
- Value-Added Agriculture
- Outdoor Product Manufacturing
With housing prices especially high in Spearfish right now, a major component of the American Dream can seem out of reach for local workers.
Take Zillow for instance. There are 48 single-family homes on the market in Spearfish. The median price of those homes is $629,000. The lowest-priced home is $295,000, which Zillow estimates will amount to a $1,905 monthly payment. For a family earning Spearfish’s median household income, that’s more than half of their monthly take-home pay. Plus, the home was built in 1974 and may require some costly repairs and upgrades in the near future.
Thankfully, it’s a much different story at Sky Ridge, Dream Design’s workforce housing development off Exit 17, where Tier One homes are considerably less expensive than the lowest-priced home on Zillow. The homes are brand new and built with energy efficient materials, efficient heating and cooling systems, and fiber-optic wiring.
“Sky Ridge is a huge component of addressing Spearfish’s workforce housing needs. It’s allowing individuals to live and work in Spearfish,” said Kory.
“I can’t emphasize this enough when I talk to people. This is not low-income housing. This is not subsidized housing. This is housing for our teachers, our nurses, and our police officers.”
The City of Spearfish and Dream Design broke ground on the Sky Ridge housing development project in December of 2021. The first owner closed on their home in July and 12 others have since closed and moved into their new houses. Fifteen more homes are currently under construction. When Sky Ridge is complete, the development will include 140 houses. The area also includes a 40-acre sports complex with soccer and softball fields that is nearing completion.