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The School District of the Menomonie Area brought the Home Sweet Menomonie project one step closer to fruition after an October board meeting.

The SDMA gave a $50,000 contribution, becoming the fourth organization to get behind Home Sweet Menomonie. HSM is a group created via a partnership between the city of Menomonie, the Community Foundation of Dunn County and the Greater Menomonie Development Corporation to address the critical shortage of local workers.

“Seldom do we all agree, yet when the School District of the Menomonie Area Board of Education determined that Home Sweet Menomonie was the right investment into their community and the community’s future, the decision was unanimous,” said Dan Ostermann, Senior Vice President of BMO Harris Bank and Vice President of the Greater Menomonie Development Corporation. “We are immensely grateful, touched and proud of the school district’s commitment to Home Sweet Menomonie.”

The primary intention of the project is to help employers attract and retain employees by offering zero-interest, partially forgivable loans for down payments on homes in the city.

Home Sweet Menomonie is slated to roll out in January 2019.

For SDMA Superintendent Joe Zydowsky and the school board, getting behind this project was an easy choice.

“We see this as a wonderful opportunity for district employees to get financial assistance to purchase a home in Menomonie,” Zydowsky said. “It would benefit the district through having increased enrollment, and more families have the potential to increase property value, which would have a positive impact on district finances.”

Home Sweet Menomonie couldn’t be coming to the area at a better time, said Eric Turner, Executive Director of the Dunn County Economic Development Corporation. “We have a shortage of teachers, we have long-term staffers still living in apartments—this would give them a chance to start building some assets. We want people to become citizens of Menomonie and grow here.”

Any employee of a participating business or organization within the city of Menomonie will be eligible for Home Sweet Menomonie loans, regardless of income. When an employer gets on board, any of their employees may begin the application process.

To participate, a business must make a tax-deductible contribution to the Home Sweet Menomonie fund held by the CFDC.

An interested employee of a participating business would fill out an application online and submit it to the city. The home can be either new or existing, but must be owner-occupied.

The city will inform the applicant of the amount of the down payment assistance award, up to $10,000, within 21 days. The repayment schedule would be between five and 10 years, and any documented improvements the new owner makes to the property may be forgiven in the final year of repayment.

“This would benefit the city, and more importantly, the employees and businesses that would put their roots down and strengthen their ties to Menomonie,” Turner said. “Home Sweet Menomonie is the nexus of community and economic development in the city.”

For more information or to find out how to become a sponsor, contact the Community Foundation of Dunn County at 715-232-8019.

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