Longtime Ellis business owners Doug and Jill Shaw have donated four large residential real estate lots southeast of Hays to the Ellis County Development Corporation.

The donation’s value is in excess of $100,000, according to Doug Williams, executive director of Grow Hays, the development arm of the corporation.

“We do plan to try and promote affordable housing or additional housing,” said Williams of the lots, commenting Wednesday on the donation. “These are each 2.5-acre lots, so we’re looking at the possibility of subdividing them into smaller lots.”

The lots are in Big Creek Estates, a single-family home development, where Canterbury Road runs into Reservation Road. As part of the county, the lots are within the Big Creek Sewer District, Williams said.

“They’ve owned it for a while and development has kind of slowed out there,” he said. “We approached them about it and I think they like what we’re doing. They were nice enough, and philanthropic enough, they donated it. So good for them.”

Williams and others in the business community have said a lack of housing in Hays makes it hard to hire people into the area.

Grow Hays, and the nonprofit Heart of America Development Corp. are planning a $15 million, 21-acre residential development in northeast Hays, with construction to start this spring.

Plans call for 75 homes priced from $175,000 to $225,000.

“Doug and Jill Shaw have been significant contributors to our community for many years,” Williams said in a news release. “They have provided affordable housing through residential developments in Hays and Ellis, where they constructed over 50 affordable homes.“

The Shaws developed and operated the Ellis Travel Plaza, now Love's Travel Stop, in Ellis.

“This generous gift is another example of their commitment to Ellis County and will allow the Ellis County Development Corporation to continue its efforts in promoting affordable housing in our community,” Williams said.

The Ellis County Development Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Grow Hays. It is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation dedicated to the development of affordable housing, entrepreneurship and workforce development in Ellis County.