The first 16 homes in the latest workforce housing incentive program were approved Tuesday by the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation.

The builders are Daren Wilkinson of Wilk Builders LLC, Keith Hinrichsen of Keith Hinrichsen Construction and Brady Johnson of Grizzly J’s Woodworks LLC.

Wilkinson was approved for 10 homes, Hinrichsen 4 and Johnson 2, said Gary Person, Chamber Development President and CEO.

The first lots that Wilkinson is building on are 811, 815 and 821 Dixie Ave. Hinrichsen will build in the area of 900 W. Walker Road. Johnson will build in the 200 block of Wayne Ave., Person said.

Fourteen of the homes are being constructed in the North Platte area. Johnson is building two in Brady. Brady, Hershey, Sutherland and Wallace are approved to be part of the program, Person said.

Wilkinson, Hinrichsen and Johnson were the first applicants approved by the review team, Person said.

“We appreciate the local builders stepping up and getting the housing development program jump started,” he said. “All three are local Chamber of Commerce members and have very solid construction reputations.”

Wilkinson was involved in the original Shot in the Arm program from 2015-17, but the other two builders are new to the program.

Person said all the builders indicated the $12,000 incentive offered in the program inspires them to build speculative single family homes. The recent housing study and local workforce needs validated their desire to build now.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced last week that the North Platte / Lincoln County “Shot in the Arm” was one of the statewide housing development projects selected to receive Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing Funds.  North Platte received $383,400 in state funds. Another $800,000 in local funds are committed to the program.

The local donations are from Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program ($100,000), Great Plains Health ($100,000), North Platte Quality Growth Fund ($350,000) and DEVCO’s 90 local business incentive investment partners ($250,000). The total funds are $1.18 million for the program.

The Chamber Development organization is hopeful that up to 150 housing units can be constructed during the next two years, the time limit required by the state program, Person said.

“We know several other developers and contractors are in the planning stages of bringing forward additional applications,” Person said.