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County HRA and Park Rapids seek rental, residential rehab grant funds

Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Park Rapids are seeking approximately $725,000 in deferred loans/grants via the Small Cities Development Program for commercial, rental and residential rehabilitation projects.

And David Collins of Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission is "cautiously optimistic" the funding will be forthcoming.

"I believe we have a strong application," Collins said, noting when DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) has invited local entities to submit a formal, final application, they are generally funded.

The deferred/forgivable rental and commercial rehabilitation loans are being sought for a targeted area on Main, from Highway 34 to 5th Street and a block east and west, in conjunction with the downtown reconstruction project, Collins said.

The city is seeking $170,000 for commercial rehabilitation (eight at $21,250), SCDP providing 50 percent assistance with a maximum of $40,000.

The deferred loans are available as 0 percent, forgivable loans, reverting to a grant if the property is not sold for 10 years.

Park Rapids is also applying for approximately $64,400 for rental rehabilitation, an estimated eight units to be rehabilitated at $8,050.

Program requirements call for at least 51 percent of the units be occupied by low- or moderate-income households.

Rental property owners would be eligible for a deferred loan of 70 percent of the expenses. The remaining 30 percent must be supplied by the property owner through sources other than SCDP.

It's conceivable, two-story business-rental buildings could utilize both programs, Collins said.

Pre-applications, which have been sent to affected property owners, are also available through the HCREDC. They are due by Dec. 21.

The applications are not binding if the funding is approved, Collins said. But preference will be given to those who've completed the pre-app forms.

Collins said he expects the city, which is the formal applicant, to be notified of the grant status late this winter. The city will then begin accepting formal applications.

In addition, approximately $400,000 is being sought for rehabilitation of 20 owner-occupied residential units in the county, which will be administered via Hubbard County HRA and the Headwaters Regional Development Commission.

The loans are based on income eligibility, explained Melody Boettcher, of Hubbard County HRA. For example, a household with an annual income of $47,100 or less is eligible for aid.

If the funding is awarded, a minimum of three households in Akeley will be served, five in Park Rapids and the remaining in greater Hubbard County.

The loans, she said, are a four-one match, which may be leveraged with other lending programs. The loans can be deferred if the homeowner resides in the house for more than 10 years.

Call Hubbard County HRA at 732-9118 for a pre-application form.

The grant funds include cost of administration, an estimated $90,776 over the 10-year period, Collins said.