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October 21, 2017

9/14/2017 2:48:00 PM
Aging low income housing needs TLC; donation to welding job training ok-d

Discussed at the county HRA/EDA meeting in August was the county-owned Rush Estates I and II.  

The county absorbed the first phase of units that were constructed in the late 1960s to meet needs of low income renters, and has kept the project going in Rush City.  Renters qualify for various levels of public assistance in paying rent.  The units were rehabbed about 15 years ago and are in need of maintenance and repairs again.  The property manager, Joleen Pfau, presented a listing of needs that will be included in an application for aid from the Central MN Housing Partnership.  The Partnership is the in-state administrative arm of the federal agency Rural Development, that provides the funding.

There’s more in needed work than the maximum amount the units qualify for, Pfau said, so there will be priortizing or the HRA/EDA may be asked to contribute to the upkeep. The  main concern is fixing roofing, then ensuring a handicap accessible/secure entry, and window replacement.

The county EDA/HRA members approved submitting the funding application, covering the fee and doing the necessary paperwork on the outstanding mortgage terms to meet the agency funding requirements.  Staff was also directed to connect with the City of Rush City and review issues affecting the surrounding streets and drainage off the complex.
The average annual income of the complex’s residents is $8,000 to $9,000, Pfau reported.

HRA/EDA donates to work skills program
As part of the county’s workforce development goals the Board approved $5,000 to be contributed to a mobile welding instruction program, through Pine Tech.

The money is going towards a mobile welding classroom on a trailer, that will provide welding classes at off-campus sites.  

The school provides all the equipment needed to take the classes and many attend tuition-free.
A welding training is set to begin September 25 in North Branch, with Pine Tech using space at the High School.  

On collaborating with NBHS-- “We couldn’t ask for better partners,” said  Pine Tech spokesperson, Kris Hanson.

There’s been instruction sessions, for women only, at Pine Tech and in August the program graduated nine welders.  At least three students are fully employed as welders now, explained Hanson.  Those three families had been on public assistance.

To help support the semi trailer truck welding lab-- you can come in at three levels-- Titanium Level is $7,500 and up. Your company logo goes on the outside of the trailer and is recognized in marketing...or the $5,000 Platinum Level allows one of the trailer work stations to carry your name and you receive a mention in marketing materials...and at the Friends of Manufacturing Level,  for $100,  your company name is on a plaque inside the covered trailer.  

The program seeks to train 84 women students.

Call or e mail Pine Tech President Joe Mulford at 320-629-5120 or mulfordj@pine.edu or Dwayne Green 320-629-4543 email greend@pine.edu to ask about details of the donation effort.

To register for the women’s welding program  or to get more info about the class contact Kris, at HansonK@pine.edu or call 320 629-4568.

City of Wyoming issues
HRA/EDA members voted to cooperatively buy a freeway billboard advertising plan,  with Wyoming.  
The billboards will be digital, message-changing boards with half the space for county economic development promotion and half for the City of Wyoming.

The county’s share is $1,750.

They also voted to reduce the price to $595,000 on the “Bingham Property” near SplitRocks entertainment center.  The county and Wyoming City co-own the parcel.

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