In April 2009, the city of Bemidji received grant funds from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to make deferred payment loans to building owners to improve commercial properties.
The program began in late 2009 and funds must be committed and expended by the end of 2012. In order to meet this timeline it is important that all applications from interested owners must be received as soon as possible, but no later than March 1, 2012. Funds are limited and will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to a news release from Bi-County CAP.
Seventeen projects were completed in the first phase of the project which began in 2007.
The city has a total of $300,000 available to support commercial rehabilitation/ storefront renovation activities downtown in the second phase of the project. The current goal is to complete 12 additional projects.
Four projects are currently in the pipeline, leaving funding available to support as many as eight additional projects.
Properties must be located within the project target area. This area was expanded to include properties located south of the original target area.
Funding is provided in the form of a deferred payment loan that can cover up to 50 percent of the eligible project cost. The maximum deferred loan amount is $40,000 per building.
Deferred payment loans are gradually forgiven over a 10-year period, provided the owner complies with all program requirements.
Soft costs, such as architectural or design assistance are eligible project expenses, provided that the applicant proceeds with the project.
Davis-Bacon wage rates are applied to all contracted work.