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Updated: 08/15/2013 6:44 PM
Created: 08/15/2013 5:00 PM | Print |  Email
By: Beth McDonough

Offer of Money Motivates Homeowners to Renovate Instead of Relocate

A number of communities in the metro are enticing residents to renovate their homes.

In fact, Coon Rapids is leading the push to keep its current homeowners by offering a new program called "Home for Generations."

John and Joan Wester have lived on Hummingbird Street since 1979.

They've got big trees in their front yard and deep roots in Coon Rapids, "We have a lot of friends here, it's a very safe neighborhood, very much a community here."

Which is why, in part, they opted to rehab their home rather than relocate to a newer, but less established suburb. Plus, a grant from the city's new remodeling program made the decision even more worthwhile.

Kristin DeGrande is the Neighborhood Coordinator in Coon Rapids, "This money incentive is to get them off the fence and on the direction of doing home improvements and really big projects that are value added and getting them to stay in the community."

Homeowners must spend at least $35,000 or more to qualify for a $2,500 grant. The grant amount doubles if residents not only touch up the inside of their home, but the outside as well. 

It's a concept spreading to other communities. St. Louis Park, Richfield and Brooklyn Park offer similar programs. Instead of grants however, they provide low-cost loans, "I think we need to sustain the neighborhoods we have," said Wester.

Coon Rapids neighbors are taking notice with more than 45 families applying for grants.

Now that their once outdated home is almost up-to-date, the Westers have no intention of leaving anytime soon, "I want to stay here until they carry me out."

To be eligible, the home must be owner-occupied and the house must be at least 20-years-old. There are no income limits.

A sit-down meeting with an architect is required. Once the work is completed, half the cost of building permits will be given back as a rebate.

Click here to learn more about the program in Coon Rapids.



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