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Supervisors Table Facade Project

December 29, 2011
by Lori Hall , Emmetsburg News

The Palo Alto County Supervisors chose to table their decision on whether to provide a portion of funding for a federal program that could refurbish historical buildings used for businesses in downtown Emmetsburg.

"I'm confused and undecided," said Keith Wirtz, chairman of the board. "The biggest thing for me is that only certain businesses receive money and others do not."

"The program is focused on saving your downtown historic buildings," explained Steve Heldt, Emmetsburg Community Developer. "For the program we had to designate a certain historic downtown area."

Supervisor Ed Noonan asked who decides which businesses get the funding.

"Probably the City Council," Heldt answered. "They're the ones who have the most money in it and are kind of overseeing the whole project."

Wirtz asked, "Was every town notified about this grant?"

"Yes, but you have to have a minimum of 15 or 20 businesses to do it," said Heldt. "That was just a number that was set."

"None of us sitting here are against this program. If you can get the money, that's great,"?said Noonan. "I'm just afraid of the can of worms we're opening if we start spending county money on businesses in Emmetsburg. That's what I'm struggling with."

Wirtz agreed, "I would like to get input from the public."

Supervisor Jerry Hofstad wondered if Heldt needed to know right away.

"No, this is the third time we've discussed it, but we have another week until I have to submit the final grant application," said Heldt.

Dan McCain, Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce President, addressed the board, "This is a unique situation. It's rare to see $500,000 in federal money come our way. This program won't be funded after this."

"It might not be this program, but you kind of set a precedent that you're saying 'yes' and as a board we need to decide if we're going to do that," said Noonan.

"How do you feel about one more week?" Wirtz again asked those present. The board was in agreement.

"We will make a decision for sure in one week," said Supervisor Ron Graettinger, ending the discussion.

 
 

 

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