Manning is offering a new incentive for anyone looking to build a house who chooses to do so there.

The city’s Economic Development Agency, which comprises representatives both from city government and the gas and light utilities, is offering 11 developed lots for sale in south Manning.

The lots are being sold for $15,000, and buyers are required to begin building within one year and have the house completed in two years. They can work with local or out-of-city contractors to complete the homes. Once each house is completed and is owner-occupied, the city will reimburse the homeowner $7,500.

The lots are located in the Rasmussen subdivision in the south of Manning. The city and utility companies purchased the lots — four south of Iowa Drive and seven south of Pleasant Drive — from Jerry Rasmussen in 2016.

“And now we’re turning around and selling them for cheap, because we want to spur development,” Manning City Administrator Dawn Rohe said.

The city also purchased nine undeveloped lots and might look at developing them down the road, she added.

In Manning and throughout Carroll County, housing has become an economic-development issue, Rohe said.

“If there is no housing available around us, we can’t grow our businesses,” she said.

One of the lots is already spoken for, and a variety of people who live both in and outside of Manning have expressed interest in them in the past several days, Rohe said.

“There are people (from outside Manning) looking to build who believe Manning is a good town to build in — it’s growing, and they want a smaller town that’s going to be around a long time,” she said. “And there are people who have lived here in a starter home and are ready for the next step.”

The decision to make the lots available for purchase stems in part from the results of the Carroll Area Development Corporation’s 2016 housing study of Carroll County. The study’s Manning-specific results noted that the city lacks homes for sale for more than $100,000.

A local housing task force formed in Manning further surveyed the city’s residents, obtaining 17 responses indicating interest in building a home within five years.

The task force proposed building spec homes in the $200,000 range, but the idea didn’t come together. However, the lots became available around the same time, Rohe said.

“The city and utilities saw this as an opportunity to help spur development in an area that has been otherwise stagnant for some time and help meet needs identified in the housing study,” she said.

She added that the CADC housing study helped focus Manning’s efforts to improve housing offerings.

To anyone thinking about living in Manning?

Welcome,” Rohe said. “Come build a house.”