The board of directors of the Sherman Economic Development Corp. discussed the area’s lack of many available housing options during its regular meeting Tuesday morning. While the board didn’t take any actions, SEDCO President John Plotnik talked about the importance of having housing options available to attract businesses and said the area was “ripe” for new multifamily developments.

“We need more housing like this, more of a variety for our people to see,” Plotnik said to the board. “We recently had a bank officer come and visit with us and she couldn’t find a place, so she’s living in Howe. SEDCO really doesn’t work residential or multifamily or retail, but if you all talk with developers, we really need to push this.”

Plotnik said he talked about the need with a local developer last year and that developer had recently sold all 14 of the smaller patio homes he recently began work on.

“I’ve asked a couple of my friends that do that in Dallas to come up here in the next couple of weeks,” Plotnik said of attracting other potential residential developers to check out the area.

As part of the organization’s monthly economic barometer, Executive Vice President Frank Gadek gave the board an update on the city’s building permit numbers for the year.

“We’re still lagging for the same period from last year by one permit, however on the year-to-date basis, we’re well ahead of this period last year,” Gadek said of the city’s new residential permits.

In May, the city had people obtain 12 new residential building permits, which was one less than the 13 that were obtained in May of last year. For the year, 68 permits have been obtained, compared to 47 through May of last year. The city hasn’t had any new multifamily building permits obtained this year and had three pulled through May of last year.

As part of the April local housing market update, Gadek told the board Grayson County had 558 homes for sale, which is 3.6 months worth of supply.

“In housing, we’re at a 3.6 months supply of inventory, so that’s not much,” Gadek said.

Other items

Vice President of Business Retention & Expansion Stacey Jones told the board about the 2017 Workforce Excellence Award that was recently given to the Texoma Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, which includes SEDCO, and the seven students who will be part of Sherman High’s inaugural class for the Industrial Maintenance Technology Program.

SEDCO partnered with Tyson, Washington Iron Works, Emerson, Mueller Construction Co., Eaton and CertainTeed to give the seven Sherman High students, who will all be seniors in the fall, $4,000 scholarships for the IMT Program. The students — Ricardo Beltran, Catherine Ceniceros, Adolfo Delgado-Ramirez, Kenny McDowell, Preston Moreno-Ragsdale, Andres Rivera-Garcia and Abel Yanez Jr. — will be taught the basic knowledge and skills necessary to work with various types of equipment and automated systems in manufacturing and commercial facilities. At the competition of the program, students will earn an Industrial Maintenance Technician Level 1 certificate.

“From the response we received from interviewing these students, I think they’ll have mentors at every company, so they’re going to have a lot of great contacts by the time they finish this program,” Jones said.

Plotnik said that program has drawn interest from other economic development groups outside the Texoma area.

“We’ve been getting some calls from other economic developers from other states wanting to know more about how we can mentor them in doing programs like this,” Plotnik said. “But the basis of being able to do these programs is the state of Texas approved these juniors and seniors to take these vocation classes and use those credits to get their diploma to graduate from high school. And Texas is very unique in that.”