$205,000 available for downtown MitchellSeminar also in works after 35 nuisance letters issued.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
For downtown Mitchell property owners wincing from the 35 nuisance letters sent up and down Main Street, there is help available.
The Main Street Revolving Loan Fund has $205,000 in low-interest money available to help with renovations and repairs.
Another opportunity for assistance will come Sept. 27 when Mitchell Main Street & Beyond and City Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Lanning host a seminar on city nuisance ordinances at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Technical Institute south campus amphitheater. The purpose of the seminar will be to initiate discussion and clear any confusion about Mitchell’s commercial property nuisance code enforcement.
The nuisance letters recently issued to downtown property owners could be a blessing in disguise, said MMS&B Director Molly Goldsmith, if they make business owners take a closer look at their properties.
“Most property owners we’ve spoken with said they knew something like this would be coming,” she said.
The nuisance letters also could make property owners more aware of the Revolving Loan Fund, which has $78,500 on loan to rehabilitate deteriorating properties within Mitchell’s downtown historic district. About $205,500 remains in the fund.
The money can be used for painting; replacement of windows; and repair of facades, architectural elements, crumbling masonry and more, which could fix many of the issues cited by Lanning during his inspections.
The money is available for a six-year period at 3 percent interest. The first year is a grace period and the loan is paid back in years two through six. Applications are made to area banks, which notify MMS&B when an applicant is qualified.
The maximum eligible loan amount is determined by the amount of lineal frontage of a business, multiplied by $400 per foot. A building with 50 feet of frontage, for example, would be eligible for a maximum $20,000 loan.
Applications can be found on the MMS&B website at mitchellmainstreet.com/down town-rehab.
Businesses must be MMS&B members to qualify for the money, Goldsmith said, a stipulation that has been added in the past year. Annual membership fees vary but generally run about $125 a year.
The organization’s website lists other financing sources for businesses or individuals who are unable to qualify for the revolving fund money.
Some property owners anticipated the code inspections and have been making necessary changes, Goldsmith said, while others have been waiting for the inspections to determine what needs to be done.
“It’s the goal of Jeff Lanning and the city to make sure commercial and residential properties are safe,” Goldsmith said. “They’re not trying to pick on anybody.”
Some business owners would like the city to be more specific about violations cited in the correction orders recently issued by Lanning’s office. “There’s been some confusion about exactly what the problems are,” Goldsmith said.