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Mendota Grant Approved for New Gazebo, Storage

Mendota continues their success with Dakota County's Community Development Block Grant program.

Editor's Note: Dakota County Commissioner Tom Egan represents Mendota Heights, Lilydale, Mendota and a portion of Eagan. He was elected to office in 2004 and is now serving his second four-year term. Egan will write regularly to Patch readers about county government.

I am pleased to say that the city of Mendota has successfully applied for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) for a .

This time, the two successful Mendota applications were for the construction of a gazebo and construction of a storage facility in . While the source of funding will be the same as last year, the process of receiving funding is quite different.

The CDA Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Committee was established in January 2011 to recommend funding to Dakota County cities with a population of under 10,000 (small cities) and Dakota County townships under the CDBG Program.  

The committee is made up of three members of the Dakota County Board including yours truly, commissioners Joe Harris and Kathleen Gaylord. Joining us on the committee are the chair of the Dakota County Township Association and the chair of the Dakota County Planning Commission.  

The amount of funding available for the CDBG competitive pool this fiscal year was  $42,000. Since the three applications for funding, including the above two from Mendota and one from the city of Randolph, totaled only $33,000 it was not necessary to convene the committee to prioritize projects. Rather, by consensus, the committee members agreed to rank the two Mendota applications first and second with the Randolph project ranked third.

The first city of Mendota request was for $12,000 to construct a 20-by-20 foot octagon-shaped gazebo in Veteran's Park that would receive electricity from the nearby electrical pole.  This is a high priority project for the city. Mendota as a low- and moderate-income area is eligible for this funding. Because of the limited staff available, an additional $1,200 will be added to pay for project management bringing the total funding to $13,200.

The second city of Mendota request was for $8,000 to construct a storage facility located in Veteran's Park for city-owned equipment that otherwise has been housed at city council member's homes.  

The storage facility will be located on the southern portion of the park near the pond and will hopefully also have a bench for residents to ready themselves for the pond during the winter months for ice-skating. This application is also eligible for CDBG funding. Once again, due to limited staffing, an additional $800 will be included to cover project management bringing  the total funding to $8,800.

Last year, the CDBG grant award to Mendota was contingent on the extension and final approval of an ongoing Congressional continuing resolution.  

This year, the Dakota County CDA proposed activities, including the funding of the above applications, have already been determined to meet the housing and community development priorities established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/HUD and are not contingent on a federal continuing resolution.  

However, a requirement of the approval of this funding was that the Dakota County Board of Commissioners hold a public hearing to receive comments on the overall CDBG Program. That public hearing was scheduled and held on May 8, 2012. Based upon the favorable results of that public hearing, the applications for a gazebo and storage facility by the city of Mendota should be approved and funded in due course in the near future.

I am very pleased to see that Dakota County seeks to provide programs and opportunities that benefit not only the larger but smaller communities, such as Mendota, within our county.

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