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Akeley seeks funds for water projects

Akeley is applying for a grant via the Small Cities Development Program to fund water main improvements for a three-block portion of Broadway in conjunction with the Highway 34 improvements.

The Akeley Council, convening a special meeting Friday, learned the city is eligible for grant funding based on the community's median household income.

The council, although facing a tight deadline of Oct. 7, will work with the engineering and economic development firm of Short Elliott Hendrickson to make a pre-application for grant funds for the estimated $376,000 project.

Dick Grabko of SEH recommended the city apply for a $250,000 grant with the remaining estimated $125,000 to $130,000 a loan. Repayment could be structured over a 30-year period at 1.5 percent interest, he told the council.

The water mains are 50 years old and while they remain functional, their days are numbered. Replacing them now will preclude tearing up the highway after the Department of Transportation completes construction, mayor Jennifer Mitchell said.

The council is expected to learn in November if the pre-application has been approved. In the majority of pre-application approvals, the funding receives the final nod, Grabko told the council. That determination is made public in February.

In addressing the council, Grabko said eligibility for SCDP grants is based on a population of 51 percent or more in the low- to moderate-income range. Akeley qualifies at 57.6 percent.

Grabko indicated funding is available for public facility projects, such as wastewater or storm sewer, housing rehabilitation and comprehensive needs, including commercial revitalization.