Gov. Walz announces nearly $24 million for economic development in small Greater Minnesota cities

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Sep. 20—Gov. Tim Walz has announced that 36 cities, townships and counties across Greater Minnesota will receive nearly $24 million in Small Cities Development Program grants, with Bagley, Fosston and Kelliher on the list of recipients.

The grants will be used for residential and commercial property rehabilitation, upgrading public facilities and other economic development projects.

Bagley will receive $345,000 for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation, Fosston will get $597,713 for the same purpose, and Kelliher will receive $417,300 for public facilities improvements.

"We are dedicated to making Minnesota the best state to live, work and raise a family — no matter where in the state you call home," Gov. Walz said in a release announcing the funds. "These grants will boost our economy and help Greater Minnesota communities throughout the state grow and thrive."

SCDP grants are awarded to Minnesota cities with fewer than 50,000 residents and townships and counties with populations under 200,000. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development administers the grants, which are a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program.

"SCDP grants provide Greater Minnesota communities with financing to address their need for safe and affordable housing and suitable living environments for persons of low to moderate incomes," said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. "This funding supports projects that support community vitality and enhance conditions for additional economic growth."

To be eligible for SCDP grants, projects must meet at least one of three federal objectives:

* Benefit people of low and moderate incomes based on individual and area income standards.

* Eliminate slum and blight conditions.

* Address an urgent community need to eliminate a public health or safety threat.

Communities can apply for funds for one or more of the following types of projects:

* Residential owner-occupied or rental property improvement projects to increase the quality of dwellings suited for individual or family occupancy. Examples include exterior repairs and replacement projects, insulation, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, lead paint remediation or accessibility modifications.

* Commercial property improvement projects for buildings occupied by retail and independent businesses. This can include façade improvements (e.g. awnings, exterior signs), building code issues and energy efficiency.

* Public facility improvement projects that serve neighborhoods or communities, such as community centers, streetscapes, or wastewater treatment projects.