City may request $410K in grants to Hormel Foundation

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Austin City Council is preparing to submit grant requests to The Hormel Foundation for next year.

Council members individually rated 14 potential grant requests totaling more than $410,000 during their work session Monday. Though they won’t know which requests to submit until their next meeting, council members were already debating which requests to move forward on, including money for a community entrance sign and a $100,000 grant request to the Main Street Project to help businesses upgrade downtown buildings and make aesthetic improvements.

“We haven’t seen a lot of action from the Main Street Project in recent years,” Council Member Jeff Austin said.

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Council members pointed out Vision 2020 will likely work with the small business initiative to bring more businesses to the downtown area.

The council is requesting funding for the following items:

—$15,000 to continue an AMCAT busing dialysis route, to take area seniors to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for dialysis appointments. The Austin hospital no longer offers dialysis services.

—$25,000 for a climbing wall at the Austin Municipal Pool.

—$12,500 for a community entrance sign

—$5,000 for the Austin Fire Department to provide fire prevention and education lessons to the community.

—$50,000 for the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s Home Improvement Program, which will be used to make small repairs and upgrades to area homes based on need.

—$15,000 to convert the city’s street lights to LED bulbs.

—$100,000 for the Main Street Project.

—$35,000 to purchase tablet computers for the Austin Public Library, which started a computer lease program over the past few years. The library loans computers to residents on a consistent basis and the tablets would add to the library’s computer program.

—$36,426 for the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center education program, which would cover costs for public school field trips.

—$12,500 to replace the heating and cooling system at the nature center’s Ruby Rupner Auditorium.

—$25,000 to replace the air conditioning at the Mower County Senior Center.

—$10,000 to start a solar electric vehicle charging station in partnership with Riverland Community College. Austin Utilities officials would use the station to power electric vehicles, with any additional energy going back into the city’s power grid. Riverland’s solar installer students would build the station as part of a class project.

—$50,000 to connect Wildwood Park to Mill Pond via a bike trail. The trail would run north from Mill Pond along the west side of Third and Fourth Streets Northeast to the tunnel connection under Interstate 90. The city would also construct a trail on the berm south of Kuehn Motors to connect North Main Street with Third Avenue.