NY Mills awarded $1 million DEED grant

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded $18.6 million in grants through the Small Cities Development Program, including more than $1 million for New York Mills...

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded $18.6 million in grants through the Small Cities Development Program, including more than $1 million for New York Mills

The grants are financial booster shots that help maintain and improve the economic health of small communities all over the state, said DEED Commissioner Matt Kramer. They fund improvements in housing and crucial infrastructure necessary to retain and attract business and industry, increase tax base and boost property values.

New York Mills received $1,055,200, to rehabilitate 17 owner-occupied housing units, commercial space and improve public facilities. Of the total, $600,000 will go toward upgrading the wastewater treatment facility in the future. About $181,000 will be available for commercial rehab and $240,000 for housing rehab.

We are very pleased that we have been selected for Phase II of the Small Cities Development Grant, Mayor Randy Clarksean said. This will continue the work that was started in Phase I that improved numerous downtown businesses and residential dwellings.

With NY Mills still under a sewer moratorium the city needs the roughly $600,000 to help pay for the proposed wastewater treatment upgrade, which stands at an estimated $4.2 million.


The estimated cost of the wastewater treatment upgrade is currently around $4 million.

In applying for the funds the city has set aside a target area for the commercial and housing rehab. Property owners in the target area will be notified of the opportunity for rehab and those applying for funds would need to meet basic eligibility requirements.

The city recieved a DEED grant in 2002 and a number of residents and businesses in downtown Mills took advantage of the available funds to do rehab. The Phase II target area is essentially an expansion of Phase I. The commercial zone includes Walker Avenue south from Centennial to Nowell Street and north from Centennial to just past Park Street. The area extends east from Walker to Broadway, then further east along Centennial to include Oakland Boat Repair on the east side of town. On the south side of Centennial the district includes east of Walker along Nowell to Main Avenue, then east along Centennial.

The residential distict includes (from Centennial to Gilman): N. Hayes Avenue, West Park Street, N. Main Avenue, N. Tousley Avenue and Broadway Avenue. To the south of Centennial the district includes S. Walker, S. Main, S. Tousley and a portion of Wendy Woods Lane. To the west the district includes Van Aernam Street, Pleasant Lane and W. Nowell Street.

The commercial rehab is an area containing eight blocks in the downtown area and a corridor running along Centennial Drive to the east of the downtown and can be characterized as being blighted. Included in this slum and blight (as termed in the grant information), redevelopment district are 58 buildings.

Wadena was also a recipient, winning $876,780 to rehabilitate 43 units of owner-occupied and rental housing and commercial space.

The grants may be used for a variety of projects, but most often fund improvements to owner-occupied and rental housing, improvements to commercial property or such essential public infrastructure as sewer, water and wastewater treatment projects.

Of the projects funded this year:


- 53 percent are for owner-occupied housing improvements;

- 18 percent are for commercial property improvements;

- 15 percent are for public facility improvements;

- 14 percent are for rental housing improvements;

To receive funding, projects must meet one of three conditions: benefit low- and moderate-income persons; eliminate slums or blight; or address urgent threats to public safety.

The grants are available to cities and townships with populations under 50,000 and counties with populations under 200,000. This year, 89 eligible cities and counties submitted proposals for community development projects totaling $50.8 million.

In the past 10 years, more than 285 Minnesota communities have enhanced their business districts, provided improved housing opportunities, and improved public infrastructure for their residents through the Small Cities Development Program.

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