Grant Program Aims To ‘Paint The County’

By Deb Hadachek Telescope News

Republic County Commissioners approved the first five Paint the County grants of $500 each at their regular meeting Monday.

One of three housing incentives programs developed for Republic County by Republic County Economic Development, Paint the County is designed primarily for home improvement. Recipients must purchase paint and supplies from a local business.

Luke Mahin, director, said at least 10 grants will be funded in this first year, with hopes the program may expand in future years. The funds cannot be used for labor costs, but Mahin suggested local organizations like Faith Works or volunteers can be enlisted to assist with projects.

Mahin said RCED has had one application for the Empty Nester program which will award up to $5,000 per qualified individual to help with costs incurred from moving and selling a property. Seniors must move from a house to a rental within the county. Two projects will be funded in 2021.

The third program is a Housing Demolition Assistance program, which offers up to $2,500 per property to help clear residential structures from a lot that will then be used to build new, sell or donate the lot to a Land Bank. Five demolition projects can be funded in 2021.

Funding for the programs comes from a grant awarded to Republic County through the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.

“These programs were developed specifically for Republic County,” Mahin said. “This year is a proving ground. If they do well, there may be more funding available in future years.”