City of Verona Mayor Luke Diaz believes if people are good enough to work in Verona, they’re also good enough to live in Verona.

“Verona is a really nice community to live in – the schools are good, there’s a lot of nice, natural features,” he said. “Our downtown is really kind of coming up, so a lot of people want to live here.”

While Epic Systems drives a lot of growth in Verona, Diaz said communities across Dane county are dealing with increasing populations and a housing supply that hasn’t kept up with demand.

As a result, many people are struggling to find a place to live amidst a housing shortage and lack of affordable options. However, one recent development in Verona – called Schoolhouse Yards – helps address the need for affordable options by bringing workforce housing to the city.

Kendra Bishop – director of marketing and public relations for The Alexander Company – said the idea for Schoolhouse Yards came to fruition in early 2020 when the city issued a public call for proposals to reimagine the site of the old Sugar Creek Elementary School.

“We partnered with Steve Brown Apartments to respond, and the rest is history,” she said. “Many of our team members live in Verona and brought valuable insight to the process, and we’re thrilled to be providing housing in a community we also consider home.”

The apartment complex is a collection of five two-story buildings organized around a central clubhouse building, with most apartments having direct walk-outs or even direct private garage access, Bishop said. Due to this, the units feel more like a townhome than a traditional apartment.

Bishop said the entire redevelopment was intended to create an inspiring, multi-generational, pedestrian-friendly community hub knit into Verona – an extension of downtown.

“It all has a very town square feel to it, with its cohesive mix of park space, a variety of housing options and neighborhood-serving retail spaces coming soon,” she said.

As a workforce housing development, Schoolhouse Yards requires applicants to have annual household incomes falling below 50% or 60% of the annual median income in the area. Bishop said the apartments were very quick to lease – largely before the buildings even officially opened – demonstrating the great need for affordable housing options in Verona.

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This article was originally published by The Verona Press.