City is vying for state fundsThe city of Red Wing is hoping local projects will rise to the surface as government entities throughout Minnesota vie for state money.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
The city of Red Wing is hoping local projects will rise to the surface as government entities throughout Minnesota vie for state money.
The City Council on Monday moved forward with applications for state funding that would help pay for the building the West Red Wing fire station and improvements to the Sheldon Theatre, the Levee Street area and the riverfront.
The state Legislature approved a new program as part of its public works borrowing bill that set aside $47.5 million for local capital projects. Entities can apply for a piece of the funds, and the program is managed through the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The money must be used for capital projects, such as buildings and infrastructure. Selected projects will only get up to 50 percent of the total cost.
The Sheldon building restoration, with a total cost of about $1.4 million, and the fire station, at $5.6 million, were both requests from the city for state bonding funds during the session, but were not part of the final bill approved.
Red Wing also is applying for funds for another project on Levee Street and near the river. It combines area improvements totaling $4.12 million — reconstruction of parts of Levee Street, the small boat harbor retaining wall and creating a trail from Bay Point to Levee parks among them.
Planning director Brian Peterson said the Sheldon, fire station and riverfront projects had the best chance at fitting with DEED’s selection criteria.
But “in some sense it still is a bit political,” grant writer Ron Seymour said of the process.
“There’s a lot of major competition out there,” Peterson said. “(But) it seemed prudent for us to put our best projects forward and put them in the hopper and see what happens.”
A number of large projects also likely will compete for the money, including a civic center in Rochester.
Council member Lisa Bayley was the only member to vote against moving forward with the application. She said she was concerned mainly about the fire station because she didn’t know where the local piece of the funds would come from to cover the project.
“We’ve got the land, we know this is a need, but is it something we’re ready to do yet?” she said Monday. They wouldn’t want to face the possibility of having to reject the state money if the project was selected, she said.
The due date for applications was extended from this week to July 9. The projects will be submitted as three separate proposals.