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State awards Carlton County $741,750 for property rehabilitation

Aging buildings and properties in Carlton County just received a new lease on life. The state of Minnesota last week approved $741,750 in Small Cities Development Grant (SCDG) funding for Carlton County - an amount large enough to rehabilitate a ...

Aging buildings and properties in Carlton County just received a new lease on life.

The state of Minnesota last week approved $741,750 in Small Cities Development Grant (SCDG) funding for Carlton County - an amount large enough to rehabilitate a minimum of 16 owner-occupied houses, 10 commercial properties and 10 rental units in Carlton County.

"A county applying for SCDG funds is novel," commented Pat Oman, Carlton County economic development director. "Most applications come from townships or cities."

Oman went on to point out the county is by no means a stranger to this type of funding. He said there have been two previous SMDG awards in the city of Cloquet, for example, the most recent of which provided some $986,900 to assit with housing, commercial and rental apartment rehabilitation.

He added that the city of Barnum is currently working under a Small Cities grant award in the amount of $324,188 that focuses on owner-occupied housing and commercial rehabilitation. That grant closes out in the year 2009.

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Lakes and Pines Community Action Council provides adminstrative support for the grant program. Facilitator Lezlie Ballis of Lakes and Pines said, to her knowledge, this is the first time this grant funding has been awarded to a county in the state of Minnesota.

"[The county approach] is still kind of new," Ballis said, "though the state certainly encourages it. It really allows the funding to reach the people who need it."

The SMDG funding provides assistance to owners of commercial properties in the form of deferred, 10-year loans which require a 50 percent match.

Qualified owner-occupied dwellings are eligible for zero interest, 10-year loans with 15 percent match, and rental properties are eligible for 10-year deferred loans with a 25 percent match on the cost of the total improvements.

Maximum amounts and eligibility qualifications apply.

For more information, or to apply for funding, contact Ballis at 1-800-832-6082 or Oman at 218-384-9597.

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