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New London awarded funds for 2016 water projects

ST. PAUL — New London is one of four communities to share nearly $3.9 million in grants and loans to improve public water systems.

The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority announced this week that the agency has approved funding for projects in New London, Inver Grove Heights, Frazee and Heron Lake.

"These four cities join a growing list of Minnesota communities that have been helped by the Public Facilities Authority over the past 27 years," said Shawntera Hardy in a news release. Hardy chairs the Public Facilities Authority board and is commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

"The PFA has financed more than 1,300 public infrastructure projects in over 590 communities statewide since 1990," she said.

New London will receive $617,000, including a $472,000 principal forgiveness grant and a $145,000 low-interest loan that will pay for improvements to city water mains that were completed in 2016.

New London City Administrator Trudie Guptill said the city had applied for the $617,000 loan, but because the 2016 bonding bill was not approved by the legislature, the Public Facilities Authority was unable to fund the request.

The city decided to be "patient" and used bonds and an inter-fund loan from a city fund to cover the costs of the water project.

Waiting "worked in our favor" Guptill said, because the Public Facilities Authority has now provided a loan "forgiveness" of $472,000, which means the city will only have to pay back a $145,000 loan to the authority.

The debt forgiveness was a "welcome surprise" and will reduce the city's bond levy and reduce the tax burden to residents, she said.

Heron Lake received $1.71 million for the Red Rock Rural Water System, including a $1.26 million in grant and a $450,692 low-interest loan.

Inver Grove Heights received a $296,052 grant for a stormwater-management basin.

Frazee received $1.27 million, including $876,173 in grants and $390,040 in low-interest loans for two projects.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750
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