The City of Cherokee has received eight applications to date for housing rehabilitation assistance and the contracted rehabilitation administrator is currently in the process of verifying information and qualifications of those houses.
At the September 25 City Council Meeting, the Council approved agreements with Simmering-Cory, Inc. of Clear Lake for General Administrative Technical Services in conjunction with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program the City applied for and received last year.
After receipt of the Grant last year, the City solicited proposals for CDBG administration services and also for housing rehabilitation inspection and contract administration services, but never awarded contracts to carry out the program.
At that time, proposals were sent to three entities, including the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) of which Cherokee and Cherokee County are members. The only response was from Simmering-Cory who have extensive experience working with the Iowa Department of Economic Development in the administration of CDBG Grants and in overseeing the housing rehabilitation application and repair process.
The administrative services contract totals $17,500 and the rehabilitation contract is for $3.100 per home rehabilitated. A target of 10 homes in a designated area is to be completed in Cherokee through the Grant.
At the September 25 Council Meeting, Marsha Cory described the housing rehabilitation process with the City, saying the object of the federally funded program administered through the states' economic development bodies is to "help stabilize housing stock" in an eligible community.
The program targets a designated area defined by the City and basically provides rehabilitation for a home's roof, siding, windows, and electrical needs totaling $24,999 maximum expenditure for each selected home. Cory said rehabilitation of the 10 houses applying for the forgivable loans must be completed within two years.
If the home owner stays in the rehabilitated house for five years, the loan is forgiven. If the house is sold before the five-year period, a partial repayment is likely.
According to City Administrator Don Eikmeier, in the next few weeks inspections of the homes will be conducted by Simmering-Cory with the homeowners. After repair plans and specifications are prepared, walk throughs will be scheduled with interested contractors, all prior to the bidding process.
The City encourages interested contractors in Cherokee and surrounding areas to bid on the projects as jobs are also considered a part of the federal CBDG equation.
An advertisement for the CBDG Program reads:
The City of Cherokee is seeking qualified general contractors to bid on remodeling jobs within the City. The work is being financed through a grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Typical repairs may include re-roofing, re-siding, foundation repair, window/door repair and/or replacement, painting, electrical and mechanical work.
No person will be excluded from the opportunity to submit bids on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, political affiliation, familial status or citizenship.
Minority and women contractors are encouraged to participate. Contractors with Certifications of training in Lead-Safe Work Practices will be required on some projects; however, said certification may be obtained after indicating your interest.
Interested contractors should contact:
Simmering-Cory, Inc. (Program Administrators) PO Box 141, Clear Lake, IA 50428, phone 641-357-7554; or City Administrator, Cherokee City Hall (712-225-5749).