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Continued: Home Run: Coon Rapids homeowners flock to city's remodeling grant program

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 14, 2013 - 9:34 AM

Their remodel will cost nearly $100,000. They are set to receive $2,500 in grant money.

“It was very easy to do,” Joan Wester said of the grant program. “It’s a really good ­incentive.”

Neighbors have come and checked out the work.

“There is so much going on in the neighborhood with people improving their homes,” Joan Wester said.

Jerry and Linda Skelley are remodeling their split-level inside and out. They’ve also qualified for a city grant.

“It’s a great program. It’s nice the city gets involved to help people and to give them a little incentive to do things to your property,” Jerry Skelley said.

There were many reasons to stay and make their home work.

“Part of it’s sentimental. It’s the first house we bought,” Jerry Skelley said. “It’s close to work for both of us. We like the neighborhood and we are a half-hour from everything — a half-hour from downtown [Minneapolis], half-hour from Mall of America.”

The city launched the Home for Generations initiative in 2009 after City Council members brainstormed about a home-revitalization program at a council retreat.

During Phase I, the city bought five older homes — four foreclosures and a short sale — that were typical of the Coon Rapids’ 1950s, 1960s and 1970s housing stock. The city redesigned the homes inside and out and opened them up as models. More than 8,000 people toured the homes.

Officials believe the project inspired nearly 100 remodels, according to building permits.

Recently, Home for Generations has won a “Bright Idea” award from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Bright Ideas recognizes creative and promising government programs across the nation.


Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804


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  • John and Joan Wester are turning their 1964 two-story house on Hummingbird Street in Coon Rapids into their dream home.

  • Forty-five homeowners have applied for the program that offers up to $5,000 cash for a home remodel of $35,000 or more. The city quadrupled the pool of money to $100,000 after receiving a flood of applications. They have added a new addition, patio and remodeled their kitchen. ] Richard Sennott/Star Tribune Coon Rap[ids, Minnesota Wednesday 8/07/13) ** (cq)

  • John and Joan Wester have a new addition that extends off the rear of their Coon Rapids home, plus a new patio, thanks partly to a city home remodel program that has wildly exceeded expectations.

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