Collaboration is not just a buzz word. It’s what gets things done.
City officials know that and have partnered with the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership to seek a small-cities development grant to help property owners in the city. This is the second time the city has applied for grant funding on behalf of residents. The first was through a similar program through Stearns County that didn’t work out. The current action is an investment in the community and a way to help its own.
The Small Cities Development Program helps cities and counties with funding for housing, infrastructure and commercial rehabilitation projects that benefit people of low and moderate incomes, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Projects must meet three objectives. Those objectives are a benefit to people of low and moderate incomes, elimination of slum and blight conditions, and elimination of any urgent threats to public health or safety.
Specifically, the City of St. Joseph is submitting a preliminary proposal to DEED requesting funding for needed repairs to homes and commercial businesses. Funding is being requested to assist homeowners in two identified target areas. One target area is from Minnesota Street N. to Birch Street between 5th Avenue NW and 3rd Avenue NE. The other area is from Minnesota Street south to Baker Street between College Avenue and 8th Avenue SE. If the city receives the funding, the grant can provide zero-percent deferred forgivable loans to assist homeowners in completing needed repairs to include new roofing, siding, windows and doors, as well as mechanical and electrical updates.
In addition to helping homeowners, there is a commercial rehabilitation component to the grant request. Commercial funding is being sought for areas along Cedar Street SE between 1st Avenue NE and 4th Avenue NE and along Minnesota Street between 2nd Avenue NW and College Avenue; and College Avenue from Minnesota Street north one block, according to the city. The program provides commercial dollars at zero-percent deferred, forgivable loans and low-interest loans to address a building’s exterior needs. These may include new roofing, exterior siding or brickwork, windows, doors, awnings and signs. Some interior items may also be approved.
Interested residents and property owners had until Nov. 13 to express their interest in the program. Showing a need for improvement and those who will benefit is a large part of the application process. While the next thing to do is wait for a response, it is commendable the city continues to seek these opportunities rather than be deterred by previous failed attempts. Good luck, St. Joseph!