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Opportunity zones approved for Pelican, Parkers Prairie

County Economic Development Director Nick Leonard briefed the County Board of Commissioners about opportunity zones, a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.

Commissioners voted to designate two opportunity zones in Otter Tail County, one in Pelican Rapids and one in Parkers Prairie.

The intent of the program is to encourage long-term investments in low-income and urban communities nationwide. Each governor can designate 25 percent of the eligible census tracts as opportunity zones in his or her state.

In Minnesota, the governor has identified 180 zones for low-income housing.

Discussion continued regarding the program and process to apply for funds.

Volunteers will help with minor home repairs

West Central Minnesota Communities Action Housing Support Specialist Heidi Grove and Lakes and Prairies Community Action Advocate Sarah Boesen met with the county commissioners regarding the Group Cares Camp event scheduled for July 22 to July 28, 2018.

About 200 students will be performing minor home repairs in west Otter Tail County and in Wilkin County.

Grove and Boesen spoke about the relationships built through the program and lessons learned by students who volunteer their time.

The Mahube OTWA Community Action Council in Fergus Falls is a partner in the event.

Applications are being made for homeowners who need painting or minor repairs completed on their homes.

For more information call (218) 643-2888 or (218) 739-3011.

Battle Lake to Ashby trail

Otter Tail County, through county commissioners, supports the efforts of the city of Battle Lake and the city of Ashby in leading the effort to have the Battle Lake to Ashby Regional Trail formally designated as a regional trail in greater Minnesota.

This trail plan is coordinated with the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.

The trail will connect Glendalough State Park to the Central Lakes State Trail with connections through the city of Battle Lake and the city of Ashby.

Extension approved for health records pilot project

County Public Health Director Diane Thorson reported that the Department of Human Services (DHS) has received an extension for the electronic health records pilot project that was scheduled to end March 31, 2018.

County commissioners authorized a contract with the State DHS for contract extensions with the subcontractors. Additional purchase of services will include reimbursement to project partners.