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Detroit Lakes Development Authority receives grant for center study

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The Detroit Lakes Development Authority has received one of two grants it and the city had applied for to put toward a redevelopment study and convention center study.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development awarded the DLDA a $22,427 grant to "hire a technical consultant to study the feasibility of reorganizing downtown and Detroit Lakes, including building a conference or convention center in the downtown area."

The grant comes from the Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program, which aims to develop small and emerging private businesses.

Besides the DLDA grant, the city of Detroit Lakes has also applied for a grant through the USDA in the amount of $40,000. DLDA Chairman and Alderman Jim Anderson said the city wouldn't be hearing the result of that application until mid-August.

He said on July 17, city leaders will discuss the scope of the feasibility study. He added that the convention center and redevelopment area will likely end up being two different studies, but the group is hoping the same firm will handle both studies if that's possible.

"This grant will help the city of Detroit Lakes reshape itself to take advantage of new opportunities," said Steve Wenzel, state director of Rural Development in Minnesota.

"Rural Development can help build a community from the ground up. While Detroit Lakes is already a unique and prospering rural community, we welcome the opportunity to help it become an even more attractive destination in Minnesota."

During the application process, businesses were surveyed to test the level of interest in a feasibility study to reshape the downtown area, including the possibility of the convention center. Many expressed a high level of interest in the project.

As many as 131 new jobs in the downtown area may be created from the redevelopment.

The estimated total for both feasibility studies is $80,000, including $34,000 for the convention center and $46,000 for the redevelopment study. Last month, the city council voted in favor of spending up to $40,800 in matching funds for the studies. The money will be taken from the liquor store fund.

For more information on Rural Development, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.

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