County board approves housing aid funds for new housing project on Blazing Star

Published 1:45 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to use about $108,000 of the county’s 2023 certified statewide affordable housing aid funds to support a project that would redevelop a portion of the Blazing Star Landing into low-income apartments.

The housing proposal, with a company called Tapestry Companies, is one the city of Albert Lea has been working on for over a year at the site. The Albert Lea City Council has approved a resolution declaring the property without public purpose, as well as a purchase and sale agreement with RCIL Land Holdings LLC.

Previous discussion about the apartments indicated the development would include 60 new units, and would be income-based for people at 50% or less of the median income, according to prior information released about the proposal. It would include one- to four-bedroom units.

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The company seeks to apply to Minnesota Housing for low-income housing tax credits for the project.

County Administrator Ryan Rasmusson stated the agreement has been approved by the county attorney and would terminate Jan. 1, 2028.

The company would not be given the funds upfront but would be reimbursed for building construction starting with the foundation, Rasmusson said.

Funds would be disallowed if the project evolves into something other than an affordable housing project.

Fifth District Commissioner Nicole Eckstrom questioned who would review the claims from the company, and Rasmusson said he would as administrator.

The county received the funds from the state to aid in the development off new affordable housing.

In other action, the commissioners:

• Approved a resolution establishing an Absentee, UOCAVA and Mail Ballot Board for the 2024 election year.

Auditor-Treasurer Kelly Hendrickson said they added additional members to support party balance.

She also noted new trainings election judges are asked to complete because of changes at the state level. She said the department takes it seriously to make sure people are properly trained and asked that people complete the training in-person.

• Approved out-of-state travel for IT Director Tim Fulton to the ESRI Conference in San Diego July 14-17. Fulton said the only cost to the county would be for lodging, estimated at $1,600.

• Accepted the resignation of Appraiser Ed Young and voted to fill the open position.

• Accepted the resignation of Fernando Sanchez-Elioza, a detention deputy, and then voted to fill the open position.

• Voted to fill a vacant accounting specialist senior position after the promotion of Mellisa Toupin to HR Generalist.

• Accepted a $100 donation to the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program.

• Approved a revised fee schedule for the county.

Rasmusson said in the future, they would like to approve the schedule annually.