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Perham has benefited from past grants

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Perham's experience with the Small Cities Development Program has been very positive-resulting in major renovations of the downtown business district back in the 1990's.

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Perham will benefit from another round of SCDP grants, this time totaling $460,472.

"We have visitors constantly commenting on how good our downtown looks," said Perham EDA Director Chuck Johnson. "And one of the big reasons was the Small Cities grants we received."

The grant is expected to help fund 24 rehabilitation projects within the city of Perham. The grant approval lists eight owner occupied homes; eight rental units; and eight commercial buildings.

Allocations are expected to be about $20,000 for each residential project; $20,000 for each commercial project; and $12,000 for each rental unit.

Though it has been stated in the past that the applications will be taken immediately, city staff are asking to delay submitting applications until after staff completes a workshop with the state, said Johnson.

Application process will begin as soon as possible in May.

Energy efficiency improvements will be a high priority for the rehabilitation projects.

Johnson credited city hall administrative assistant Mary Holzer for much of the work that led to the approval of the Small Cities Development Program grants.

Eligible properties for the Perham program include:

1) COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES are eligible for up to $20,000 in grant funds, which would be matched 1-to-1. Match for grant funds would come from equal share of owner equity and money borrowed at 0 percent interest from the Perham EDA. Thus, the largest eligibility would be $40,000, which would include $20,000 in grant funds, to be forgiven over a seven-year period. Funds can be spent for storefront renovation, as well as efficiency items such as windows, doors, outdated furnace, insulation, roofing, etc.

2) RENTAL PROPERTIES are eligible for up to $10,937 per unit, to be used for efficiency types of items such as windows, doors, outdated furnace, insulation, roofing, etc. To be eligible, over half of the units in a rental property must be rented to low-income people, based on state Low to Moderate Income guidelines. These guidelines must be met yearly. Owner needs to match 30 percent, thus the maximum project would be $15,626 per rental unit, which includes $4,668 from owner and $10,937 from grant, which will be forgiven over seven years.

3) RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES are eligible for a maximum of $20,000, to be used for efficiency items such as windows, doors, outdated furnace, insulation, roofing, etc. There is an income eligibility requirement, based on state Low to Moderate Income guidelines. Owner may be required to input 10 percent of project, depending on income. Grants will be forgiven over seven years.

To be eligible for grant funds homeowners cannot exceed the income guidelines. Landlords who receive funding must have 51 percent of their tenants meeting these guidelines along with Fair Market rent guidelines.

All applications will be reviewed by the city of Perham building inspector, who will approve eligible costs.

Contractors will also need to complete an application for eligibility to work on any of the projects funded by these funds. Please call 346-4582 to receive an application. All contractors who provide the requested information will be placed on a list which will be given to those who qualify for SCDP funding.

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