Communities hope to receive grant money - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Communities hope to receive grant money

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CHATFIELD, Minn. (KTTC) -- Multiple communities across our region hope to receive some state grant money for projects, but the competition to get those dollars is tough. Across the state communities have requested more than $288-million dollars in funding, but only $47.5 million dollars is available.

One community that requested funding is Chatfield. Chatfield's city clerk tells me this town is a hub for many surrounding communities, especially when it comes to the arts. Which is why they're asking for grant money through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to redevelop the old high school. This historic building is just one of the centerpieces of Chatfield.

"These buildings are special to this community and this region," explained the City Clerk, Joel Young.

It's the old high school, built in 1916. While it's no longer used as a school it's still educating people now, in the arts.

"We do 60 events a year, which is quite a few I think for what people expected. They all involve a caterer, musicians and artists. Every dollar that goes through here is just as important as a dollar that goes through a private business," said Young.

After years of not receiving state funds through the bonding bill, Young said they applied for a $7-million, 96-thousand dollar grant through DEED.

"It was in the bonding bill. Two years prior it went all the way to the Governor's desk and Governor Pawlenty line-item vetoed it. This year it didn't get to the Governor's desk, because not much bonding did quite frankly," explained Young.

Young says the auditorium, adjacent to the high school, was built in the early 1930's and its history speaks for itself.

"The steel and the concrete that was used to built Potter Auditorium, it was really meant to last for centuries, so when our forefathers do something like that, design and build buildings that would last for centuries, it's only right that we would answer the call when it's time to reinvest," stated Young.

A investment that young says will impact economic development, for generations.

Winners of the grants will be picked by the end of August - or early September - after weighing-in on each project's potential for job creation, increased taxes, return on investment, as well as other criteria.

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