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Apple harvest opening eyed for Cosecha Court

GRANGER - It may have missed the asparagus and cherry seasons, but there's optimism Cosecha Court will open in time for next month's apple harvest. That's according to Lowel Krueger, executive director for the Yakima Housing Authority, which is overseeing the seasonal ag worker housing development in Granger. Shooting for a mid to late August opening for Cosecha Court, built at a cost of $3.5 million, is several months later than Krueger and the housing authority had hoped. Save for a landscaping issue with the new sod and weatherizing front porch columns, he noted the development's 10 units were largely complete when an open house was held in April. "Since our open house we've been trying to close out the project with Rural Development," says Krueger. He says there has been a delay in having officials from the federal agency visit the site and formally sign off on the project. That approval is essential, he says, because without it there is no funding to move forward at Cosecha Court, including hiring an on-site manager. "I need to close it out to make sure we receive operating assistance so I can go out and hire someone," Krueger says. He notes the delay is due largely to staffing issues at the federal level. "Rural Development has been under-staffed for probably a good decade," said Krueger. "I had to push hard to just get Cosecha Court started in a timely manner." . When it does open, Cosecha Court will offer temporary furnished housing for up to 75 people at a cost of $6 per night. The complex will feature solar energy to power a front office, laundry room and outdoor lighting. "It does help with operating expenses," Krueger says. "Our goal is to reduce costs as much as possible since it's subsidized housing." When the picking seasons wrap up this fall, he says Cosecha Court will be closed during winter for maintenance.

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