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Viking Terrace work poised to begin

WORTHINGTON -- Thanks in part to another successful grant application, the rehabilitation of Worthington's Viking Terrace apartment complex is nearly set to begin.

Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP), which acquired the Burlington Avenue property last year, was recently notified of its approval for $409,010 in grants from NeighborWorks America. The money -- $130,000 of which will go directly toward the Viking Terrace project -- will help with the completion of renovations that will improve the apartments' marketability, energy efficiency and security, SWMHP Executive Director Rick Goodemann said Friday.

"We are really pleased to get this," Goodemann said of the NeighborWorks grant. "This is the last piece of the puzzle we needed. We're anticipating beginning renovations in March."

Goodemann detailed several sources of funding for the Viking Terrace project, including $280,000 per year for 10 years in low-income housing tax credits, $276,000 from a Minnesota Green Communities grant, $435,000 from the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and $765,000 through the State of Minnesota.

Features of the Viking Terrace project include a new, highly efficient geothermal heating and cooling system; outdoor lighting and entry improvements to enhance security; and modified kitchens and baths in several units to more adequately accommodate persons with disabilities. The geothermal energy aspect of the project resulted in the award of the Minnesota Green Communities Grant in August 2005.

"The latest estimations are that heating and cooling costs will be reduced by 60 percent," Goodemann said.

The City of Worthington gave SWMHP a boost in February 2005 in its drive to acquire the 60-unit Viking Terrace, as the City Council approved a three-year tax abatement, a 17-year, zero percent loan from the city's Small Cities fund, reductions in building permit fees, and fast-tracking of its building permit application process for the proposed project. SWMHP had made the requests before council in order to get "municipality points" needed for securing of the low-income housing tax credits.

SWMHP is a member of NeighborWorks America, which is comprised of 240 non-profit organizations. Based in Washington, NeighborWorks provided more than $75 million in 2006 grants nationwide.

"We were fully funded on our request to NeighborWorks," said Goodemann, adding that Viking Terrace was the "number one project" in the grant request.

Renovations at Viking Terrace, which is now also under new management, are scheduled to be completed by spring 2007. Total cost of the improvements is estimated at $3 million.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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