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Grant helps Glenwood with downtown facelift

Glenwood's downtown will benefit from a state grant to help the look of storefronts. (Photo courtesy Pope County Tribune)

A neighbor of Alexandria is about to remodel.

Glenwood received an $873,746 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help improve the look of its downtown and some rental housing.

The rental housing rehabilitation project will include the Glenhaven Manor assisted living facility adding showers that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Lakeview Apartments getting new windows and new roofing, said project administrator Emajean Zwieg of the Douglas County Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

The commercial building project includes a minimum of 10 businesses who will replenish their store fronts with up to about $35,000 in improvements each.

Of that cost, 60 percent will be covered by the grant through a deferrable loan, which will be forgiven if the business doesn't sell its land, or transfer or convey its title for five years. Another 20 percent of the cost will be supplied by a low-interest loan, and 20 percent will come from the owner, explained Zwieg.

The business owners can add "anything that keeps their storefronts looking attractive," Zwieg said.

The streetscape project will use about $260,000 of the grant, including decorative amenities, or anything that makes downtown Glenwood "bright and vibrant," Zwieg said.

The Glenwood grant was one of 26 grants in Minnesota totalling $14.6 million.

In order to be considered for the grant, applicants needed to display a project that would benefit people of low and moderate incomes, eliminate slum and blighted conditions, or eliminate an urgent threat to public health or safety, according to DEED.

"Communities need sustainable and affordable housing, along with vibrant and attractive commercial properties, to help maintain a better position for economic growth," Zweig said in an email. The state fund "helps provide financial assistance for rural communities to maintain that vibrant appeal downtown and in the residential neighborhoods."