Brainerd City Council: City receives rehab grant for Koop Building, northeast properties
Housing developments in Brainerd got a boost Monday, July 2, with the announcement the city garnered a nearly $640,000 grant for such purposes. The 2018 Small Cities Development Program, or SCDP, grant--valued at $638,338--is slated to target own...
Housing developments in Brainerd got a boost Monday, July 2, with the announcement the city garnered a nearly $640,000 grant for such purposes.
The 2018 Small Cities Development Program, or SCDP, grant-valued at $638,338-is slated to target owner-occupied and rental housing rehab in northeast Brainerd, as well as the Koop Building property in downtown. Through the Community Development Block Grant program, Congress appropriates money to states, which is then divided into SCDP grants allocated through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The structure and purpose of the grant is similar to a $650,150 downtown grant for commercial and rental properties the city acquired in May 2016-another step in a concerted effort by city officials to reverse a downward trend in commercial and industrial districts. Between 2014 and 2018 alone, the city saw an 8 percent dip in its industrial/commercial market value.
Mayor Ed Menk pointed to the cumulative benefit of both the 2016 and 2018 grants to rehabilitate slumping areas of the city-giving special recognition to Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority leaders John Schommer, the rehabilitation coordinator, as well as Executive Director Jennifer Bergman.
"A couple years ago I received this nice letter that said we got $650,000-well, this time we only got $638,000, but you know? Almost $1.3 million in just a little over two years," Menk said.
He then addressed Bergman and Schommer, who spearheaded the efforts to acquire both grants. "My hat is off to you guys. I don't know how we can find that kind of money without your participation. Thank you very, very much."
Schommer broke down the basic parameters of how the grant money will be allocated.
• Owner-occupied rehab: Owners of their own homes who meet the owner-lot income requirements. Schommer said there are proposals for money to be set aside for 10 homes of this nature.
• Rental rehab: Schommer said there are proposals to allocate monies for 23 properties of this kind-mixed-use units, family rentals, duplexes, fourplexes, etc.
• The Koop Building in downtown Brainerd.
"Total benefit could be over $900,000 with the match, program income and all the other parties contributing," Schommer said. "We'll see a huge improvement in that area."
Schommer noted it will be a few months-after the grant is cycled through the prerequisite channels of government and surveys and site evaluations are conducted-before property owners can submit applications to take advantage of the grant.