St. James was one of three area towns to receive funding from the Small Cities Development Program joining Winnebago and Windom.

The Small Cities Development Program helps pay for rehabilitating housing, commercial buildings and updating public infrastructure in small cities and counties.

"So this is going to be a preventative measure to ensure that they don't get any worse and eventually we wouldn't have to demolish them a few years down the road should these repairs not be made," explained St. James City Manager Sam Hansen.

To be eligible for Small Cities Funding, a project must meet one of three objectives:  benefit people of low and moderate incomes, eliminate slum–like conditions or eliminate an urgent threat to public health or safety.

St. James was awarded just over $663,000 which will be used in a variety of ways.

"The money is going to go to property owners of the building to fix up anything to improve the health, safety welfare of the community," said Hansen.  "This is going to go to improving roofs, windows insulation. Basic needs that these houses need that these owners would not be able to afford on their own."

Most of the grant money received by the City of St. James will be used in a targeted area identified by the town while applying for the grant.  The leftover funds will then be along 1st Avenue downtown.

"The Northwest portion of our town from the railroad tracks to 8th Avenue North.  From Armstrong all the way to West County Road 55," said Hansen.

The program awarded 35 total grants, totaling more than $19 million dollars for infrastructure projects in Greater Minnesota.

--KEYC News 12