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City applies for Healthy Communities grant

The Wadena City Council agreed the city should apply for a $50,000 Healthy Communities Partnership grant from the Initiative Foundation.

Before deciding, City Administrator Brad Swenson wanted the council to know the city would be required to provide a match for part of it. It's a five-year grant, he said. The city would receive $10,000 per year with a 50 percent match required the last four years. That means the city would need to provide a $5,000 per year match, either with cash or in-kind, he said. He doesn't anticipate the city will be able to come up with enough in-kind to cover the entire $5,000.

The grant is a five-year commitment and will require eight hours a month to manage the program, Swenson said.

The basic idea of the grant is to come up with a project to do in the city, he said. Working on the city's comprehensive plan is an example. Another idea involves a discussion City Economic Developer Dean Uselman had with people interested in connecting Wadena with the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail.

The HCP's 18-month training program focuses on the importance of involving all segments of a community in the planning and development process, according to information from the Initiative Foundation. Recent results in a community include the development of a downtown streetscape and opening a cybercafe.

Councilman Toby Pierce said he thought the grant sounded like a good idea, but there are downsides time-wise and money-wise.

Uselman said there are some other upsides. Cities with HCP grants get preference when it comes to getting an economic development loan or other grants from the Initiative Foundation, he said.

Councilwoman Jeanette Baymler said the first time the city received the grant those involved learned a lot of things including how to get a small cities grant.

It would be nice to get a new group of leaders in the community trained, Councilwoman Kay Browne said.

Council members voted to allow Uselman to apply for the grant and for the city to be the fiscal agent.