If there’s enough interest among neighborhood property owners, City could seek funding next fall

    Now that its properties have been removed from the 100-year flood plain and the updated map actually reflects that turn of events, could Sampson’s Addition be in line to receive a Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) grant in the future?

    That possibility was floated by Ken Buchanan, who works with SCDP through the Minnesota Department of Economic Development (DEED), as he updated for City officials the status of the current SCDP grant targeted at downtown commercial and rental properties, and discussed how the City might want to focus its efforts as it applies for future program funding.

    When the Woods Addition, which was home to the first certified levee flood control project in Crookston and the flood map was redrawn to remove its properties from the 100-year flood plain boundary, SCDP grant funds were awarded and made available to owner-occupied and rental property owners in that neighborhood who wanted to spruce up their properties.

    Buchanan said the next funding round that Crookston might want to prepare for will commence in the fall of 2019. City Administrator Shannon Stassen said one of the early steps that would be taken would be a survey of Sampson’s Addition property owners to gauge their interest in fixing up their properties with a mix of grant dollars and their own money.

    “We have to look ahead; we want to keep this money coming into Crookston,” Stassen said.

Current grant

    Funds from an SCDP grant awarded to Crookston and targeted at commercial and rental rehab downtown are still being doled out, Buchanan said. Six of seven projects have been awarded so far for commercial projects totaling $205,000, he said, leaving only $4,800 left to be awarded. The seventh and final application will eat up those dollars, plus a bit more out of the program’s revolving fund pool.

    Activity on the rental rehab front has been a bit more sluggish, Buchanan noted. The current SCDP language allowed funding for only property owners who had never received SCDP funds before, so that limited the response. With some downtown properties changing hands, he said he remains confident that some applications for rental rehab will be submitted. The current grant program expires on Sept. 30, 2019.
    
Streetscapes funding

    Buchanan said DEED also has “streetscapes” funding available, and he’s met with Stassen and City Finance Director Angel Weasner to discuss what the City would have to do to secure some of those dollars. One of the eligibility requirements, Buchanan said, is an adopted Downtown Master Plan, which the city council is currently considering.

    It’s a $200,000 grant, he said, adding that a lot of Minnesota cities are pursuing funding. Asked what projects would entail, Buchanan said it would involve things that decorate the downtown area, for example.