Bucky Lindow.JPG

Cannon Falls Bombers head baseball coach Bucky Lindow gives a presentation on behalf of the Supporters of John Burch Park about the status of the John Burch Park improvement project at Tuesday's Cannon Falls City Council meeting. Alec Hamilton / Cannon Falls Beacon

The two main items from Tuesday’s Cannon Falls City Council meeting were a presentation on the status of the John Burch Park improvement project and the City’s partnership with the Southeast Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (SEMMCHRA) on housing rehabilitation.

The meeting started with a presentation by representatives of the Supporters of John Burch Park organization Bucky Lindow (Cannon Falls head baseball coach) and Keith Meyers (assistant coach and Cannon Falls Bears player). The group will once again be requesting funds in this year’s bonding bill after last year’s bill never received a vote. 

They have the support of Rep. Pam Altendorf and Sen. Steve Drazkowski, who were both in attendance when Lindow and Meyers met with the Park Board. Altendorf agreed to author and present the group’s request for funds and will use the framework that former Rep. Barb Haley used last year. 

Lindow and Meyers then detailed the upcoming renovation of the third base dugout area, which is not part of the bonding bill request. They hope to start after Memorial Day once the Bombers’ regular season is done. For a full breakdown of the bonding bill situation and the project in general, check out a separate story here

Housing rehabilitation

Most of the council business on the agenda were resolutions needed to move forward with the City’s partnership with SEMMCHRA to rehabilitate 21 homes in Cannon Falls. Community Development Director Nick Koverman of SEMMCHRA was in attendance at the meeting to answer the council’s questions.

The City and SEMMCHRA applied for housing rehabilitation funds as part of the State of Minnesota’s Small Cities Development Program and it was announced in February that Cannon Falls received $591,675. Twenty-one projects will receive up to $25,000 each for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation. The money is in the form of 10-year forgivable loans where if they stay in the home that is rehabilitated for at least 10 years, the loan is forgiven.

The City and SEMMCHRA will ask the funds to be released to Cannon Falls in February, and after that the City will then give the funds to SEMMCHRA, who will then disburse the money to the applicants. All applications, which are received on a first come, first-serve basis, are administered by SEMMCHRA.

For more information on the program, read this article from November here.

When asked why 21 projects was the number chosen, Koverman said that the number is based on need and interest.

“They kind of have it down to a science, they’ve been doing this since 1983 I believe,” he said. “That 19-21 (number), it seems like that’s a good fit. We’re fortunate that Cannon Falls is under the population of 5,000. Where that’s not good in other respects, it’s good for us because then we can go city-wide. Some of the other grants that I'm working with have specific target areas (because they were over 5,000).”

If there is significantly more need and interest than the 21 homes, the City and SEMMCHRA can always re-apply for more funds to do the project again.

The council approved each of the resolutions needed to move forward with the project. 

Quick hits

  • The second reading and adoption of Ordinance 389 was approved in the consent agenda. This was the publication and amending of the City’s fees, charges and rates which includes the 1% increase of the water, sewer and stormwater rate.

  • The board approved the 2023 Fire Department Officers. Mike Althoff is Fire Chief, Ferlin Miller 1st Assistant Chief and Steve Sullivan 2nd Assistant Chief.

  • The winter parking area has been changed from the area by Nick’s Diner and the library to the Lee Chevrolet parking area by the winery and across from Tilion Brewing Company. 

  • The Police Commission will extend an offer to hire Joseph Master as a full-time officer as long as he meets the conditions of the Conditional Offer. Master replaces Officer Bond, who moved to part-time.

  • The Economic Development Authority has closed on the Mulvihill Property across from the Middle/High School and Elementary School. 

  • The Cannon Falls Library will celebrate 10 years in its new building this upcoming March and the plan is to have some sort of “birthday” party.

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