Grants to assist businesses in downtown NYM area

Photo by Tucker Henderson
The New York Mills EDA recently unveiled a new Downtown Matching Grant program that will assist downtown property owners who would like to make improvements to their buildings.

By Tucker Henderson


The New York Mills Economic Development Authority recently approved an application for a new Downtown Matching Grant Program. The purpose of the grant is to assist business owners working towards the EDA’s vision of the city’s downtown. The city’s educational page about the program gives a definition of their vision.

“To encourage continuation of a viable downtown by allowing prime retail sales and service uses, office, entertainment facilities, public and semi-public uses, and in special circumstances, residential use; and to preserve and build on the historic character of the downtown using the historic and natural resources available to create a tourist destination as well as to provide a unique blend of retail and service businesses for the convenience of local residents. ‘Downtown’ is defined as the greater business community of New York Mills,” read the document.

NY Mills City Clerk, Julie Roberts, mentioned that the grant program was a collaboration between the NY Mills EDA and the Otter Tail County Community Development Agency (CDA). She also said that there is a potential for $100,000 of total investment into the community with $25,000 from both EDA and CDA available through matching funds.

Eligible applicants may include both building owners and tenants of downtown businesses within the city. These include owners, partnerships, corporations, tenant operators or contract for deed purchasers. Each property must conform to the NY Mills Zoning Ordinance to be eligible for the grant.

“It is a 1:1 match loan that is forgivable over a five year period,” said Roberts.

Applicants are eligible for up to $5,000 in matching funds for the grant. These funds may be used for improvements to the exterior of buildings including the replacement or repair of brick, windows and doors, awnings and signs, exterior steps and entrances, landscaping and parking. All projects are subject to approval by the Zoning Administrator and will need to meet the criteria within the NY Mills Zoning Ordinance.

All approved projects need to be completed within one year of initial approval. If the project is not finished within one year, written communication with the EDA is required to state the reasons for delay. The EDA may request that an individual representing the business attend one of their meetings in order to go over the plan in more detail with any updates. Work completed prior to approval will not be eligible for grant funding.

Repayment of the grant loan depends upon whether the business in question remains in business in the improved building five years after the distribution of the grant monies or not. If so, the loan will be forgiven by the NY Mills EDA and all funds will count as a grant. If not, the business will be on the hook for 20 percent per year after selling the building since the initial disbursement. If sold within the first year of the grant, the funds will then be regarded as a loan and the full amount will be due to the City of NY Mills after the five year loan period.

For more information about the grant contact the City Offices at (218) 385-2213 or email Roberts at The grant application can be downloaded from the City’s website at