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Mills area receives an $850,000+ Small Cities Development grant:

New York Mills is receiving $857,740 in grant funding as part of the Minnesota Small Cities Development Program.

The purpose of the grant is to rehabilitate 21 owner-occupied houses, 15 rental units and five commercial buildings. The rehabilitation will take place in NY Mills, Bluffton and Newton and Bluffton Townships.

The funds have been allocated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Community Development Block Program.

For Bluffton alone, it could mean substantial improvements for virtually its entire commercial district. Five business properties were identified in the grant application-which comprises about all of Bluffton's commercial properties. Leaf River Ag and the Bluffton Tavern will be among the businesses.

Combining associated HRA revenue and conventional bank loans, the total economic impact could exceed $1.2 million in those two cities and townships alone.

The entire requested amount of funds was granted which is somewhat unusual because it is common for the awards to be lower than the requested amount.

New York Mills was the lead local agency for the application, and will provide some of the overall administration of the funds. But the Otter Tail County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is also administering the program.

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.

Projects must benefit people of low and moderate incomes, eliminate slum and blight conditions and eliminate an urgent threat to public health or safety

In addition, need impact and cost effectiveness must be documented and the general public must be involved in the application process.

Cities with fewer than 50,000 residents and counties with fewer than 200,000 residents are eligible.

In a letter to NY Mills Mayor Larry Hodgson, Business and Community Development Commissioner Dan McElroy wrote, "Let me extend my commendation for developing a creative approach that will effectively address identified community development needs."

Perham has benefited from past grants

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.

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