Dakota County

Cheaper home loans on offer from county

First-time home buyers and some veterans in Dakota County have a new loan option.

The county’s First Time Homebuyer Program is offering financing with a lower down payment and mortgage insurance costs than traditional loans.

The so-called HFA Preferred loan program gives home buyers a lower monthly payment, making it more affordable.

It can be paired with up to $10,000 in no-interest loans to help with a down payment and closing costs.

A “mortgage credit certificate” can reduce mortgage interest by up to 35 percent.

There are limits to who’s eligible:

• First-time home buyers or households that have not owned a home in the last three years.

• Veterans do not have to be first time home buyers. They are eligible if they have not previously used a first-time home buyer program.

• It’s aimed at single-family homes, townhouses or condominiums in Dakota County costing no more than $273,570.

• There are income limits: $82,900 for a one- or two-person household, $95,335 for a household of three or more people.

Buyers must get trained on home buying before closing on a loan, via workshops.

The agency offering the help, the county Community Development Agency, works with local mortgage lenders. A list of participating lenders is online.

For more information, visit dakotacda.org/homebuyers.htm or call 651-675-4442.

Shakopee

County Rd. 16 stays closed for weeks

A stretch of Scott County Road 16 will stay closed for several weeks after June floods washed pieces of it away, officials say.

The portion near Foothill Trail needs new culverts underneath.

The County Board last week approved the purchase of two new box culverts to replace a plugged one that caused water backup.

Delivery of the new culverts is to happen by early October. It will take another three to four weeks to install them and repair the road.

Scott County has been working with the federal government to cover the expense.

Shakopee approves transit merger

Shakopee’s City Council has approved a merger of its transit services with the much larger Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA), which covers mainly Dakota County.

The agreement between Shakopee Transit, Prior Lake Lakers Lines and the MVTA would take effect Jan. 1 if other parties sign on.

Shakopee’s services include its Shakopee Circulator and BlueXpress commuter bus service. MVTA reports it has no plans to change service levels.

savage

Prairie restoration effort needs help

Three Rivers parks officials are seeking volunteers to help “bring back the prairie” in Scott County.

Participants will assist wildlife specialists in collecting wildflower seed to help restore and enhance prairie areas. There’s training and collection bags.

Work will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, Savage.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, or be with an adult. Groups must have at least one adult per eight youths, and be age 12 or over.

To register, call 763-559-6706 or visit www.threeriversparks.org/events/Groups/prairie-seed-collection.aspx.

Prior Lake

City staging party on the beach

Prior Lake is hosting a free beach party next week.

It’s for all ages. Activities include face painting, wacky hair coloring, dance, arts and crafts.

Limited concessions are available, but no lifeguards will be on duty.

The party is at Sand Point Beach on Aug. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. No registration is required.

Staff reports