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No housing rehab grant for county

By Staff | Jun 17, 2012

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development last week announced they had given grants totaling $16.5 million to 31 communities in the state.

Unfortunately, Faribault County’s application was not one of those given funding.

“Yes, you can definitely say we are disappointed,” Linsey Warmka, executive director of Faribault County Development Corporation says. “We worked hard on this grant application.”

FCDC and Pettipiece and Associates were contracted by the county to make the application on their behalf. FCDC did all the fact-finding for the grant, while Pettipiece did the actual grant application writing.

At first, the application included all of the smaller towns in the county excluding Blue Earth, Wells and Winnebago.

“We thought it would be advantageous for the smaller cities to work together to get this grant,” Warmka says.

The application was first pared down from all seven smaller cities in the county to just four Bricelyn, Kiester, Elmore and Minnesota Lake. Then it was again pared down to just three, with Minnesota Lake dropped from the list.

Chuck Pettipiece told the county board in March that there were too many possible applicants in the four towns, so they needed to just have three cities on the application.

The Small Cities Development Program makes grants available to cities and townships under 50,000 and counties with populations under 200,000.

The grants are used for rehabilitating existing housing for low to moderate-income residents.

The two applications from the south central section of the state that were awarded went to Martin County in the amount of $595,125 and the city of Waseca for $506,000.

Faribault County was seeking $595,125 for the three cities.

If they would have received the grant, the county would have added $45,000 to the project, money that would have come from a previous housing rehab revolving fund.

Warmka says she will still do everything she can to help the smaller cities in the county.

“Poorer housing is an issue not just here but across the state,” Warmka says. “There is a need for this kind of help in Faribault County.”

Warmka says she was a bit surprised by the low number of grants awarded in this area.

“In the past, Pettipiece has seen about half of their grant applications awarded each time,” she says. “This time only one was.”