By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
Jeff Gladis, CCAP Housing Director, United Community Action Partnership, presented information Feb. 3 to the Eden Valley city council about the Small Cities Development Grant program for affordable housing assistance. He is submitting a grant for the city that could make a total of $1,057,400 available to homeowners and businesses for building rehabilitation.
Homes must be owner-occupied to be eligible, and the budget is $25,000 per home. Funds are eligible for an 80/20 matching grant if household income is 50-80% of area median income, and could be up to 100% if less than 50%.
The commercial district eligible is from Fat Eddies up Highway 22 to 55, then to the liquor store on one side, and Dollar General on the other; businesses outside this district are not eligible.
The grant, if awarded, includes $500,000 for 20 homes, $75,000 in administrative funds, and funds for six commercial projects averaging $36,000 each with a 20% match required.
The process for those seeking the funds includes a two-page application.
The city will be notified in June if the funds are awarded. A town meeting or notification (depending on COVID) would be held around September, and applications then could become available. The funds are federal dollars through the state.
Gladis explained that all projects will need to be submitted through the state historic preservation office (and include photos). Also, any commercial contact will need to pay prevailing wage.
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall attended the meeting via Zoom. There were no participants from Eden Valley in the county’s diversion program (allowing some offenders to stay out of court). This year, she said, adults just went ahead and paid their tickets instead. Fewer tickets were written, and people were less likely to come into court to talk about them. Domestics continued as usual, she explained, but property and drug crimes were down. Child protection cases dropped off the map because kids weren’t in school.
A considerable portion of the Feb. 3 meeting was spent hearing complaints from five residents about snow removal in town. Mike Lies, Bob Perschon, Nick Lies, Ron Koltes, and Randy Otkin each explained to the council their particular snow removal problems relating to their sidewalks and driveways. Some of them spoke heatedly, triggered by letters from the city charging a $100 fine for not properly removing snow; all five said they would not pay the fines.
Mayor Bengtson moved for a resolution to pause the fines for snow ordinance violations until the council has a chance to revisit the ordinance; council member Sheets seconded. The motion was not passed.
Dan Schumacher, a Manannah Township supervisor, came to discuss the future of 602nd Avenue. He thought that the city had annexed land to the east of it, but instead it was to the south. The east side of the road still belongs to the township.
The council then had a discussion about a donation from the estate of Judy Getzkow’s estate to the library. Helen Grothe made the case that the funds were intended for the library and its programs only, not for the building. Zach Blonigen (public works director) will get some estimates on sound abatement inside the event center portion of the building, often used for library programs, in advance of the council’s workshop in two weeks.
The city’s engineer Kent Louwagie reported on the open house held about the upcoming street project. About a dozen property owners showed up. Louwagie’s recommendation is to continue with the way the street project is laid out currently.
Police Chief Ernie Junker has hired two part-time officers, Evan Borscheid and Kim Wood, who are already trained, and available to fill in as needed.
Not all cars are staying off the streets during winter, causing problems to plow around them.
The council will have a workshop Feb. 24, and the next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. Meetings are recorded and can be viewed on http://YouTube.com.