EDGE would buy land, demolish abandoned structures and develop
Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 12:05 p.m. CDT
FALLS CITY — The Richardson County ARPA Funds Administrator told commissioners on Tuesday that each of the six projects seeking US stimulus funds may be eligible, making a decision in May on how much to allocate.
Commissioners Rick Karas and John Caverzagie said the county would keep some of its $1.5 million for next year’s budget, noting rising costs for road stones and bridges in need of repair.
Commissioners said they would work to split the remaining funds among the $1.7 million in applications.
County Attorney Douglas Merz pointed to a Falls City EDGE proposal to address housing statistics that show 250 homes in the community are worn or worn.
EDGE Director Lucas Froeschl said Falls City has 70 homes that no longer have utilities, but are still standing.
Falls City is partnering with the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska on a $9.4 million housing proposal, and Froeschl said ARPA funds could start housing improvements by acquiring 20 lots and demolishing vacant buildings.
Merz said ARPA rules would leave lots as green space or allow low-to-moderate income housing to be built.
Merz said when distressed properties are removed from a lot, the lot usually sells to a neighbor. Under ARPA rules, lots would not be available to expand someone’s yard.
He said if the county uses ARPA funds to create a separate economic development fund, cities, towns and organizations can apply for grants that don’t have as many “strings attached” to the fund. land use.
Merz: “You wouldn’t have to worry about what you do with the vacant property once the house is demolished.”
Commissioner Caverzagie said the removal of vacant and derelict buildings was a priority.
Froeschl said new housing is also needed. He said Falls City hadn’t had a subdivision in 30 years. The current Champions Crossing development has 35 buildable lots for market-priced housing, but builders are grappling with rising construction costs.
ARPA Administrator Austin Duerfeldt said the EDGE application was eligible and suggested other projects could be framed similarly to EDGE’s housing program.
Caverzagie said the Rulo library’s demand could be better served through a county-run economic development fund.
Here are the proposed uses of ARPA funds:
- Lucas Froeschl of Falls City EDGE, $400,000
- Humboldt City Councilman Larry Stauffer and Humboldt Mayor Robert Mendenhall for the purchase of an ambulance by Humboldt Volunteer Rescue for $260,000.
- Pastor Jerry Yount and Pastor Tim Boatright for the Richardson County House of Hope halfway house for $350,000
- Gayle Swisegood, Dale Yoesel, Andy Meinzer, Dean Stevens, Neal Frost, Larry Fisher, and Rodney Joy for East Richardson County Water District No. 2 Improvement Project, $499,613;
- Shannon Hoymeyer for Rulo Village, Rulo Public Library for $51,860
- Steve Johansen for Richardson County Drainage District No. 7 for Levee Stabilization and Improvement for $194,315