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Grant projects

City to seek community development grant funds for sewer plant projects
Grant projects
Crews were busy Friday installing temporary stoplights at the Hwy 13 and 64 intersection ahead of a rebuild that is expected to be completed by mid-July.
Grant projects
Crews were busy Friday installing temporary stoplights at the Hwy 13 and 64 intersection ahead of a rebuild that is expected to be completed by mid-July.

The city of Medford is hoping to tap into grant funds and the state’s clean water fund loan program for sewer plant upgrades.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Council members held a public hearing on a public facilities community development block grant request which would help fund a 2025 project planned for the wastewater treatment plant. The public hearing is a grant requirement and, as expected, there were no objections raised to applying for the grant funds.

At the same time, the city also approved working with the state’s Clean Water Fund loan program for the air upgrade project. Under this program, municipalities are able to see principal loan forgiveness and lower interest rates for borrowing.

See CITY on page 5 City coordinator Joe Harris said the plans are to invest about $3.5 million into the treatment plant in 2025 for grit removal and use the Clean Water Fund Loan program for financing. When the city previously used the loan program for an air quality upgrade, the city was able to get a 65% principal forgiveness with an interest rate of 1.287% for 20 years.

Harris explained that in this application cycle, the city is in the top 20 of applicants with the higher on the list an applicant is, the more loan forgiveness they could receive.

Council members formally approved a resolution to participate in the loan program.

Council members also approved applying for a state Department of Natural Resources urban forestry grant proposal to partner with the Medford Morning Rotary Club for the purchase and planting of screening trees between the flag field parking area and Melvin Company’s yard located to the north of the Frances L. Simek Memorial Library.

Harris said the Rotary Club is looking to plant a “tree garden” in that area with mixed species including evergreens, crab apples and maples with the intent to plant about 42 trees in the area to provide yearround screening for people visiting the flag field.

Harris said the intention is for them to plant more mature trees that will provide more immediate screening in the area.

The estimated cost of the project is between $5,000 and $7,500. Harris said club members will be applying for a grant through Rotary International as well as doing local fundraising for the project.

Harris said there is no local match for the urban forestry grant and that it would be an opportunity to help out the club’s efforts and reduce the amount of community fundraising they would have to do for the project.

In other business, council members:

 Approved on a 7-0 vote with one abstention to sign an agreement with Taylor County to cover up to half of the cost of an internet switching device which will allow the city to connect to the county’s broadband network. In exchange, the city will receive free internet service for the next 19 years. Previously the city paid for service under a contract with TDS Telecom. Alderman Mike Bub, who is also chairman of the county’s broadband committee, said the city is being treated the same as all the other towns and villages in receiving the free internet to the city hall. The only difference is that with the city’s more complex needs, they needed to go under their own switch. Bub abstained from voting on the contract, noting he was on both sides of it given his role in the county.

 Approved spending $3,000 from city funds to go toward grand opening celebrations for the Nestlé Band Shell and for the RCU Pavilion and splash pad in the downtown. The money will help cover entertainment