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ST. PAUL-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other top government officials recently encouraged business leaders attending a conference to help provide housing affordable to the workforce, citing the Parkway Addition project in Marshall, MN, as an example of how it can be done.

“The efforts of Minnesota businesses to maintain and grow jobs are critical to the economic vitality of the state. Business leaders recognize that safe, decent, affordable housing for workers is also critical to economic vitality,” said Tim Marx, commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, who was with Pawlenty at the conference.

After the conference, Pawlenty, Marx, and a business delegation traveled to Marshall, MN, visited the Parkway Addition development, a collaborative workforce housing project funded by a private business, a philanthropic organization and local and state governments.

The project, developed by Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, is a multi-phased development that is expected to provide about 131 newly and rehabilitated housing units affordable for the local workforce. The Schwan Food Co. committed $1.5 million, the City of Marshall committed $1.12 million, the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund has dedicated slightly over $1 million, and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency that has committed $162,000 plus additional future funds up to $2 million for the project.

The workforce housing education conference, a collaborative effort organized by nonprofit and housing industry sponsors, was attended by more than 150 business leaders. The conference is intended to bring together employers committed to learning about programs and techniques to help provide affordable housing choices to their employees.

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