City to receive money for Neighborhood Enhancement grant

Residents in District 2 eligible for exterior home repairs under grant

THREE RIVERS — Residents in District 2 will soon have funds available through the city to make exterior home repairs on their property.

On Tuesday, the Three Rivers City Commission approved a motion to sign an agreement to receive $50,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) Neighborhood Enhancement Program grant. The city’s request for funds was recently approved by MSHDA’s Neighborhood Housing Initiatives Division.

The money would be used to help single-family households in District 2 at or below 120 percent of the county’s median income to apply for up to $7,499 in grant funding to complete eligible exterior housing repairs and enhancements to their home. A similar program was offered for residents in District 4 last year, where grant funds were used to help seven residences.

“We helped seven homeowners with that $30,000 [last year], so we should be able to help a few more,” City Finance Director Cathy Lawson said. “It depends on if their projects are at the max or not.”

District 2 covers the portion of town east and south of the St. Joseph River.

Eligible projects would include roof replacements, gutter replacement, window replacement, door replacement, siding, fences, steps/ramps and paint. However, door and/or window replacement cannot be a standalone activity, and have to be done in conjunction with other eligible repairs or improvements. The grant will not pay for individual items such as mailboxes, fountains, decorative landscaping, and lighting.

Lawson said eligible projects under the grant funding have to be completed before Dec. 31, with applications expected to open up in the next couple of weeks. Applicants to the program will need a full project narrative, a breakdown of costs associated with the work with at least two contractor estimates, and photos of the proposed project area. The cost of the projects can exceed the $7,499 maximum, Lawson said, but the homeowner would have to cover the excess cost.

Those interested in applying for the grant funds can call City Hall at (269) 273-1075 to get more information.

In other business…

  • The city commission approved an ordinance amendment allowing for mini-warehouses and public storage buildings in the city’s Airport Industrial Park. Related to that, later in the meeting commissioners approved placing on file for 30 days the sale of 5 acres in the park to LWH, LLC for $12,000 per acre, which will have mini storage units.
  • Commissioners approved placing on file for 30 days an application for a box hanger lease at the Dr. Haines Municipal Airport for Three Rivers Aero Properties LLC.
  • City Manager Joe Bippus said there have been “a couple” offers submitted to purchase the old Three Rivers Public Library building on West Michigan Avenue, which he will be presenting to commissioners soon. In addition, with the upcoming demolition of the Old Hospital building, Bippus said the city plans to have “clean” bricks available for city residents, with Mayor Tom Lowry encouraging Bippus to sell them at a price to residents who want them as a memory of the building.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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