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41 rehab projects slated in Mills area

Two cities and two townships will benefit from $857,740 in grant money for residential, rental and commercial rehabilitation.

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 Bluftton Tavern will be among the businesses.

For New York Mills, Newton Township and Bluffton Township, the grant will mean rehabilitation of about 21 homes and 15 rental units.

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 federal dollars are granted through the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the Small Cities Development Program.

New York Mills City Clerk Darla Berry was excited about the announcement.

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

The city of 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.