Downtown Waseca

The Waseca County Commissioners approved grants to 24 businesses in Waseca County at their last meeting. The small business and non-profit relief grant program began distributing funds the county and city of Waseca received through the CARES Act. (County News file photo)

Some of the money the Waseca County and the city of Waseca set aside for a small business and nonprofit relief grant program is getting distributed.

Waseca County received $2.2 million in relief funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and designated $500,000 of that to a relief grant program for businesses in the county. The city of Waseca received $680,000 and kicked in an additional $300,000.

The county awarded funds from the Small Business and nonprofit Relief Grant Program to 24 Waseca County businesses at its Tuesday meeting.

Most businesses and nonprofits received $3,000 with the city of Waseca and the county each contributing $1,500, but some received more.

The small business and nonprofit relief fund provides grants up to a $15,000 maximum. The amount of money a business or nonprofit receives will depend upon how thee number of full-time employees the business or nonprofit are on its payroll, according to Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ann Fitch. The minimum grant amount is $3,000.

The grant funds can be used for rent or mortgage payments, utility payments, costs association as a direct result of COVID-19, and payroll for employees. The grant funds cannot be used to purchase machinery or vehicles, moving expense, land acquisition or payment of property taxes.

Barney’s Drive-In received $10,000 while Brew’d Awakenings in Janesville and Wiste’s Continuous Concrete Edging received $4,000 just from the county. The Waseca Area Senior Citizens Center received $7,500.

The program runs through the end of September and businesses can continue to apply. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Waseca County has $1.7 million remaining of the CARES Act money it received and it’s still deciding how to use the remaining funds.

The board could issue another round of funding for businesses or the money could contribute to the county’s community resilience program, Waseca County Administrator Michael Johnson said in an email. The community resilience program can help residents with rent, mortgages and utilities.

Like other government entities, Waseca County is exploring opportunities to expand broadband services throughout the county.

“Stable, reliable and high-speed internet is a priority for the county board in all areas of Waseca County,” Johnson said. “It is also becoming more and more essential for everyday life.”

The county accepted a $25,000 Blandin Foundation grant to complete a county-wide broadband study in April with the county adding $30,000 in funding.

Johnson said the county is working with local internet service providers to gauge their desire to work with the county to find funding through Minnesota’s Border to Border program and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund at the federal level.

2021 Hwy. 60 construction

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin work on Hwy. 60 in 2021, though an exact date hasn’t been announced.

MnDOT will repave, add lighting and install Americans with Disabilities Act features from Hwy. 14 to Hwy. 13 in 2021.

Waseca County received a request from MnDOT to use portions of County Road 3 and County Road 14 as detour routes down the construction. Motorists will have to drive along the east side of Lake Elysian through Janesville before connecting with US Hwy. 14 or County Road 14.

MnDOT will use 6.8 miles of CSAH 3 and 2.6 miles of CSAH 14 as detour routes during construction on Hwy. 60 in 2021. The county will receive nearly $32,000 from MnDOT to use the roads.

Reach Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-835-5447 or follow him on Twitter @WCNSports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Load comments