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City of Wadena, Mille Lacs County garner economic development funding

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The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Small Cities Development Program grants totaling nearly $19 million for infrastructure and rehabilitation projects in 32 Minnesota cities and counties, including the city of Wadena and Mille Lacs County.

The grants are part of the Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grants pay for rehabilitating housing and commercial buildings and updating public infrastructure in small cities and counties.

Mille Lacs County, $391,000, for rental housing and commercial; and Wadena, $681,720, for owner occupied housing, rental and commercial.

โ€œThese grants will help small Minnesota cities move forward with essential improvements to housing and public infrastructure,โ€ DEED Commissioner Steve Grove stated in a news release. โ€œThe funding comes at a good time to assist Greater Minnesota communities in their recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19.โ€

Cities and townships with populations under 50,000 and counties with populations under 200,000 can apply for the grants. Eligible projects must meet one of three objectives: benefit people of low and moderate incomes; eliminate slum and blighted conditions; or eliminate an urgent threat to public health or safety.

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Projects must be completed within 30 months. Extensions due to extenuating circumstances must be requested four months in advance.

The grant awards announced represent both rounds of Small Cities Development Program grants to be announced in 2020.

DEED is the stateโ€™s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.

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