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Bailey finds $1 M for city

By Staff | Oct 19, 2009

Kathy Bailey

Blue Earth may soon be embarking on a “stimulus package” of its own.

When City Administrator Kathy Bailey began her job more than a year ago, there was something about the account balance of an Economic Development Authority (EDA) revolving loan fund that didn’t seem right.

It turns out Bailey’s hunch was correct, and it could mean quite a bit of money for housing rehabilitation projects in the city.

More than $1 million to be exact.

“Until a full audit is completed we won’t know the actual amount,” says Bailey. “It’s a pretty good chunk either way.”

What is known for sure is the money must be used to fix up homes.

Bailey says boards of the city’s EDA and Housing and Redevelopment Authority have formed a four-member subcommittee to develop criteria for how the money will be used.“I think we’ll want to put it back in the community and working. It does us no good sitting in the bank and drawing interest,” she says.

Bailey and Go Minnesota executive director Doug Uhrhammer several week ago began digging through boxes and files to try and determine where the money came from.

They discovered the funds to be HUD, Star City and Small Cities Development grants received in the 1980s and 90s.

“It’s definitely housing dollars,” says Bailey.

It’s uncertain when the funds will be available to homeowners or if it will be in the form of grants or loans, or both.

Bailey says the subcommittee also is looking into whether there are other grant programs that could be used in conjunction with the funds.

She says fixing up homes will not only increase their market value and the city’s property tax base, but it will help economic development in the long run.

“When you talk about creating jobs for the city there needs to be nice, affordable houses for workers to buy or rent. This will help us with that,” says Bailey.