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Home loan program continued

NEW ULM–The New Ulm Economic Development Authority agreed to allocate funds to continue the Homebuyer Assistance Loan and Small Business Incentive Grant programs in 2020.

The Homebuyer Assistance Loan program has $7,806.45 available. One application has recently been received and approved. The program began in 2019 with $50,000 as a revolving loan program. In this first year, $42,194 were received by seven loan recipients with the loans averaging over $6,000 each. The EDA needed to allocate funds for the program on an annual basis.

Housing Coordinator Heather Bregel asked the board to allocate another $42,194 to the program to bring back up to $50,000 for 2020.

The board unanimously approved the request. The program was viewed as a success. Bregel said area relators were aware of the program and it was popular in New Ulm.

City Manager Chris Dalton said the city will likely conduct another round of advertisements to promote the program further.

The Small Business Incentive Grant program was also started in 2019 with $50,000 allocated to the program. Bregel said the Small Business Incentive Grant program allocated all these funds to eligible businesses.

This grant is designed to support new small businesses in New Ulm with their start-up expenses during their first year of operation. The grant reimburses owners for eligible expenses up to $10,000 per business. In 2019, four grants were funded for $40,000. The remaining $10,000 was carried over into 2020, but an application has been approved and budgeted. This remaining $10,000 will be paid out in the first quarter of 2020.

Bregel anticipated five additional grant requests would come to the EDA before the end of 2020 because this was a popular program. The program began late in 2019 and she said the funds went very fast.

Board member Les Schultz asked if due to the popularity they should consider an increase beyond $50,000.

Dalton suggested approving $50,000 as a starting point and if the demand exceeded this amount, they could allocate additional funds later in the year.

Board member Daniel Braam agreed to review additional funding later in the year. He even suggested providing the incentive on a case by case basis.

Schultz agreed it was a good idea to review further funding; especially if it meant the difference between a small business opening or not opening.

To continue the program the EDA unanimously approved a $50,000 allocation for the program in 2020.

A bid was awarded for the Public Housing Site Improvement project to Leon Kral Construction, Inc. for $34,244. Seven bids were solicited for the project, but this was the only company to submit a bid.

The project was approved last year for miscellaneous concrete repairs at Broadway Haus and ten scattered-site family unit properties. Similar repairs were last made in 2011.

Bregel said there are several areas where the concrete has cracks or has lifted causing a tripping hazard. The project also includes a concrete pad at Broadway Haus to install a second bike rack and two front sidewalks to connect with the newly installed city sidewalk.

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