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Lake Park-Audubon hopes for fed stimulus dollars

A proposed $20 million construction and renovation project for Lake Park-Audubon Schools could get a considerable boost with the recent announcement that greater Minnesota schools are eligible for roughly $75.85 million in federal stimulus funding for school building projects.

Lake Park-Audubon School Board members discussed the possibilities for funding the project through stimulus money at Monday night's board meeting in Lake Park.

According to Board Member Dale Binde, Lake Park-Audubon could qualify for slightly over $19 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCB's), at zero percent interest. Certain parts of the project, such as athletic fields and parking lot improvements, could not be funded through the QSCB's, but might still be funded through standard bonding, at 4.9 percent interest.

Even if the school does qualify for the bonds, Binde noted, the entire project would still be subject to voter approval -- which, as anyone who lives in the district knows, has not been forthcoming in recent years.

However, the federal stimulus money could definitely mean a shot in the arm, of sorts, for the district's hopes of getting a bond referendum passed.

"It's kind of up in the air," Binde said. "If everything would fall into place and we could qualify (for the funding), we could actually start doing something this fall.

"We're hoping the total $19 million (that qualifies) would get accepted, but it's hard to know what would happen because the guidelines haven't totally been given to us yet."

Still, Binde said, "we're cautiously optimistic."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

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