Tracy housing proposal gets county funding

MARSHALL — A funding request to help build new housing in the city of Tracy got approval from the Lyon County Board this week.

County commissioners voted to use $100,000 from the county’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds for the Tracy request, and another $100,000 for a request to help fund the renovation of Balaton’s former Colonial Manor nursing home into apartments.

“We know that we have a demand,” said Tracy Community Development Director Tom Dobson. An independent study showed that Tracy had a “pretty significant” need for additional housing.

Representatives from Tracy had approached the board in April with a proposal to build a total of three new homes. United Community Action Partnership had chosen Tracy for two new homes as part of a grant program. The third house would be a spec home, built with the help of building trades students from Tracy Area High School.

The city requested a $100,000 contribution to help with the spec home project. At the time, the Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said there were some questions about the funding request that he would need to run by County Attorney Abby Wikelius.

At Tuesday’s county board meeting, Dobson and Stomberg said there were some potential concerns with Tracy’s original funding request.

“There was a component in there for needs as far as income ratio that was a concern,” Dobson said. But Stomberg said there might be other ways the county could help with funding.

“Loren and I discussed we do have some extra ARPA dollars,” said Commissioner Rick Anderson.

“It kind of depends on how you calculate. If you throw the interest in, we probably have close to $1 million. Without it, we’re at about half a million,” in remaining ARPA funds, Stomberg said.

The county started out with $4.9 million in ARPA funding. Stomberg said. They designated $2.1 million for area cities and ambulance services, and used additional funds for HVAC and roofing projects at the county Government Center and Law Enforcement Center, as well as a new radio system for county emergency responders.

“We still have some of the benefit of that (funding), but we have the capital plan coming up as well, so there will be some priorities,” Stomberg told commissioners.

Stomberg said he could see if there were county budget adjustments he could make for the funding, but he didn’t think he could find the total $200,000 for housing funding requests in Tracy and Balaton.

In March, Kasey Holm said developers KEH, Inc., were applying for state grant funding to convert the former Colonial Manor in Balaton into apartments. He asked the county to designate funds toward a local match for the grant.

On Tuesday, Anderson said he thought the county’s remaining ARPA funds could cover both requests.

A motion to use $100,000 of county ARPA funds for the Tracy request, and $100,000 for the Balaton request, passed unanimously.


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