Commissioners in Pembina and Walsh and Pembina counties recently awarded funds to cities for community betterment projects as part of the ½ Mill “Self-Help” Program. The self-help program is administered by the Red River Regional Council (RRRC) in Pembina and Walsh counties on behalf of the counties. The main objective is to promote development within communities of Pembina and Walsh counties. There are three program criteria:
- ½ Mill requests cannot exceed one-half of the total project cost, nor can the request exceed $1,500.
- The county funds must be matched 1:1. Funds will be released on a reimbursement basis with supporting documentation.
- A copy of a resolution or minutes of the meeting when the applicant authorized the project must be included with the application. The city must include in its minutes that it plans to apply for self-help funds for a specific project.
- Cavalier: City beautification project
- Crystal: Replace sidewalks to comply with ADA requirements
- Drayton: Rip rap placed at Hastings Boat Landing on the Red River
- Hamilton: Removal of dead trees and replanting
- Hensel: Purchase of snow removal equipment
- Mountain: Main Street sidewalk replacement
- Neche: Purchase of pole banners
- Pembina: Toward costs associated with warming house at ice skating rink
- Thomas: Continued city beautification project
- Adams: Replace tin roof on serving shelter in Adams City Park
- Edinburg: Work to convert legion building to storage facility for community center
- Fairdale: Maintenance and mowing of the city park and repair of shelter
- Fordville: Fence replacement at Sluke Field baseball diamond
- Forest River: Excavation at site of sewer/lift station
- Grafton: Purchase of shelving units and wall panels at Carnegie Regional Library
- Hoople: City website design and implementation
- Lankin: Purchase of new mower for upkeep of city lots
- Minto: Tree trimming around city
- Park River: Replace Christmas decorations along city streets
- Pisek: Ongoing street repairs
January 25, 2016
The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) is convening a Regional Mayors Caucus on Wednesday, January 27, strengthen relations between the region’s cities and their leaders. The event is a first of its kind within North Dakota Region IV and will be co-hosted by Park River Mayor Dan Stenvold and Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown. “We are convening this dialogue between our municipal officials to build a cohesive region and turn what might be perceived as issues into opportunities. Collectively I’m certain we will be able to develop ideas to benefit the entire region,” said Dawn Keeley, Executive Director of the RRRC. “We fully expect to always have a continued list of required and desired investments throughout the region and we also want to help create a unified vision which includes lofty aspirations and results.” Recent visits with all the manufacturing companies in Pembina County reveal the area has a number of key strengths to build upon. These strengths include low overhead costs, pro-business environment, lower startup costs and better access for expansion which includes local incentives, good local amenities, affordable housing, close proximity to Canadian markets and interstate system, strong financial assistance, and good trucking system. “It is important that all communities in the region have the quality of life and economic opportunities to make them great places to live,” said Mayor Michael Brown. “What’s good for regional communities is good for Grand Forks and vice versa. This summit will help us build even stronger relationships and awareness throughout the region that pave the way for an even stronger region into the next generation.” The RRRC staff will be providing results of a municipal survey conducted in 2015 as well as preliminary results of a Business Retention and Expansion Projects the RRRC has initiated with the Pembina County Job Development Authority. “In 2015, we surveyed all the small cities (exclusive of the City of Grand Forks) to learn more about challenges and opportunities,” said Stacie Sevigny, Developer. “We received survey responses from 28 cities and common themes were easily identified.” The common small cities themes of needs and desires are as follows:
- Basic infrastructure – nearly every community identified infrastructure improvement needs and oftentimes the inability to finance necessary repairs.
- Housing – nearly every community noted the need for removal of substandard properties, several expressed need for housing rehabilitation, more rental properties, and expanded housing developments.
- Business community – many communities have had to divert local sales tax funds initially designated for economic development to support infrastructure needs. There is a desire to share healthcare providers and other specialty businesses such as dentists, optometrists, plumbers, electricians.
- Recreation – nearly every community identified the need for equipment upgrades, swimming pool repairs as well as the desire for enhanced amenities such as walking/bike paths and camping/RV parks.
- Fire departments – many fire departments are struggling with volunteer shortages and at least six departments have noted the need for upgraded buildings which have limited funding possibilities currently.
- Other needs – topping the list is additional licensed child care options.
- Funding – most often, cities identified a lack of affordable funding options to address needs.
December 28, 2015
Ray McMillan is enjoying the view out the clear, new windows that were recently installed in the house he has lived in since he was 4-years-old. “I couldn’t see out the windows – they were so clouded with condensation,” McMillan said during a visit to his home. McMillan, along with 14 other homeowners in the City of Cavalier, have had or will have rehabilitation work done on their homes. Funds have been provided by the USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grant program, the ND Department of Commerce/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Block Grant program, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, the City of Cavalier, and the Pembina County Job Development Authority. More than $400,000 has been awarded for this project. The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) is administering the program, which began in 2013. The project assists qualifying low income residents with health and safety issues in their homes. Common repairs covered by the program include roofing, windows, doors, plumbing, heating, electrical and other safety items. For a project to move forward, issues including historic preservation, floodplain, and lead-based paint must be addressed. Stacie Sevigny, a developer with the RRRC, is the project manager for the Cavalier Housing Rehabilitation Project. She said that funding is currently available to add at least 11 more homes to the project, if people apply. “We are seeking more eligible homeowners who need rehabilitation work done in their homes,” Sevigny said. “Rehab work covered under the grants includes health and safety items. No cosmetic items can be addressed with these funds.” There is no cost to the homeowner for this program. To apply, residents need to complete a two page application and provide copies of supporting income documentation. Applications are available at the city offices or from any member of the Cavalier Housing Authority. Members include: Drew Olafson, Tom Ford, Darold Johnson, Rachel Morrison, Wayne Puppe and Corene Vaughn. Interested residents can also contact Sevigny at 701-352-3550 for an application or further information on how to apply. To qualify, homes must be within the city limits of Cavalier and must be owner-occupied. Homeowners must be current on taxes and have no outstanding debt with the City of Cavalier. Mobile homes do not qualify. Olafson, chairman of the Cavalier Housing Authority, is a strong advocate for the program. “Housing rehab is critically important to any rural community,” Olafson said. “In my opinion, housing is the core of economic development; a strong housing market is an indicator of a strong community.” McMillan agrees the program is worthwhile. “The guys did an excellent job and I am so impressed with the program,” he said. Homeowners interested in the program should contact Sevigny at the RRRC at 701-352-3550 for more information or any member of the housing committee. To see the income eligibility requirements and supporting documentation needed to apply, please click here: Cavalier Housing Applicant Poster
October 22, 2015
September 30, 2015
We are delighted to have Maggie Suda join our team this week as a Developer for the Red River Regional Council. Maggie will be leading the development of a Business Retention and Expansion Program in Pembina County in the coming months as well as assisting with our economic development projects and initiatives. North Dakota native Maggie Suda was raised in Wahpeton and Fargo. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead, she moved to Minneapolis,Minnesota to pursue a career in advertising. There she spent ten years at an advertising agency doing media strategy for clients such as Target Corporation, General Growth Properties, Red Wing Shoes and United Way. During that time she earned her master's degree in Business Communications from the University of St. Thomas.
September 30, 2015
As a result of extensive strategic planning efforts in 2014 and early 2015, the Pembina County Job Development Authority (JDA) is initiating a business retention and expansion (BR&E) program. With the input of more than 50 community and business leaders throughout the county, a number of general business development strategies and essential action steps were identified which includes creating a firm foundation for more strategic development within the county. The BR&E program will hit on a number of essential action steps including:
- Inventory available land and buildings for commercial and industrial use
- Determine what new services a new business could provide to an existing business
- Determine what services are lacking in the county
- Identify business training needs and create educational opportunities for existing businesses
- Identify businesses in need of succession planning
September 17, 2015
Impactful people, projects and ideas will be acknowledged as part of a new and exciting event – the “Ideas to Actions Summit” – hosted by the Red River Regional Council (RRRC). What began as an annual meeting for the regional economic and community development agency is now emerging as an event that will showcase visionary leadership, action, and determination that positively impacts the region’s communities. This year’s Summit is set for November 4, 2015 in Grafton. “We want to expend more effort acknowledging the time, determination, and enthusiasm put forth by our local citizens, organizations, governments, and businesses that result in making our region a great place to live, work, and thrive,” said Dawn Keeley, Executive Director of the Council. “We are anxious to begin receiving nominations, as we know there are so many deserving people, projects and ideas in our region.” The new awards have been given names that represent the work being recognized. The North Star Award will go to the idea(s) that illuminate opportunities or create a guiding light for progress within a community. The Catalyst Award will recognize an individual who acts as a “kickstarter” for an idea or project. The Determination Award will go to a successful project that has created a significant impact on a community. The RRRC is currently accepting nominations for three awards to be presented at the Summit in November. The deadline for nominations is October 9, 2015. More information about award criteria and how to complete a nomination form can be accessed several ways: the RRRC’s website at www.redriverrc.com; the RRRC’s Facebook page; by calling the RRRC at 701.352.3550 to request a form be mailed to you; or by emailing email@example.com. Ideas to Actions Summit Awards Nomination Form
September 16, 2015
The Walsh County Historic Preservation Commission (WCHPC) is serving as host for the 2015 Annual State Conference of Historic Preservation Commissions in North Dakota. The Conference is set for Saturday, September 19, 2015 in the community room of the City Office building in Park River, ND. On the agenda will be presentations on the process of completing historical preservation through architectural documentation and a briefing on Walsh County’s project that involves organizing GPS waypoint trails and placing geocaches at historic sites in an effort to expand visitation and awareness of each site. The group will also tour sites in Walsh County, including the railroad water tower, Women’s Christian Temperance Union’s (WCTU) water fountain in Park River, the General Store and the site of a visible OxCart Trail in and near Edinburg. Seven commissions in North Dakota are certified by their local governments to provide programs that provide for the preservation, protection, renovation and public use of historic properties within their jurisdictions. The cities of Buffalo, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, and Grand Forks, as well as Walsh County and Pembina County are all Certified Local Governments. If a historic property lies within the boundaries of one of these local governments, the Historic Preservation Commission or its coordinator should be informed of decisions regarding your historic property. The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) provides administrative support to the WCHPC – the host of this conference. The RRRC is one of eight regional planning councils in North Dakota established in 1973 to enhance the ability of local governments to jointly plan, address issues, and seize opportunities that transcend individual boundaries. The RRRC serves Region IV which includes Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh Counties. More information can be found at www.redriverrc.com. The conference agenda can be found here: https://www.redriverrc.com/event/walsh-county-historic-preservation-commission-to-host-state-conference/
The City of Crystal is currently in process of preparing for a Citywide Street Improvement Project. The city has received North Dakota Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to help pay for a portion of this project. The cost of the project will be divided among the property owners in the form of special assessments. However, homeowners whose incomes fall within CDBG program guidelines for Pembina County can apply to have their special assessments paid for by the grant. The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) will be administering the grant for the city. Household incomes that fall within the amounts below may be eligible to have 100% of their special assessments paid for by the grant: 1 person $24,750 or less 2 people $28,250 or less 3 people $31,800 or less 4 people $35,300 or less 5 people $38,150 or less 6 people $40,950 or less If after paying the special assessments of residents who qualify in the above category, Crystal residents who are above those limits but fall within the following limits may be eligible for payment of their special assessments. 1 person $24,751 - $39,550 2 people $28,251 - $45,200 3 people $31,801 - $50,850 4 people $35,301 - $56,500 5 people $38,151 - $61,050 6 people $40,951 - $65,550 Owner-occupied residences will be considered first. If funds are remaining, rental properties can be considered if the renter qualifies and the owner signs an agreement not to raise rent due to the special assessments. Applications can be obtained from Crystal City Auditor Alva Brown or from the RRRC office by calling 701-352-3550. Proof of income and the application are required for participation in this program. Proof of income includes:
- Your 2014 income tax statement, if applicable
- If you did not file income tax in 2014, then you must provide two months of your current personal bank statements
- 2015 Social Security benefits statement, if applicable
- If employed, pay stubs for the past two months
- Documentation of any other form of income as noted on the back of the application
- 2014 property tax statement