There are only 24 hours in one day. Time can get away from us and before we know it the next day has arrived. However, sometimes a pause is warranted. When possible, it’s important for residents to take advantage of help when it’s offered by cities. With tight budgets and a struggling economy, these opportunities can become scarce. A recent city council decision has firmed up one of these opportunities. Members of the St. Joseph City Council unanimously voted to move forward with a small cities development grant application in partnership with the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership. Applying for funding from the Department of Employment and Economic Development has gone from discussion mode to action. The city held a public hearing Feb. 7 and an open house previously to gauge interest. While turnout was low, the city has heard from about 45 property owners, officials said. Don’t sleep on this opportunity, St. Joseph.
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 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. Exact loan amounts will be determined on a per-project basis.
This is just one of many examples of collaboration at its best. It’s also a way to help residents help themselves. While it is a community investment on behalf of the city, it’s up to the residents to show the investment is worthwhile. For more information about the grant process, call St. Joseph City Hall at 320-363-7201.