Tofte Township is on a mission. They want to build a senior assisted living facility. Voters at the 2008 Tofte annual meeting approved the idea and since then, the township’s board of supervisors has been working to make it happen. The first step is to do a preliminary housing study to see if there’s a need for it in the community. Housing Program Coordinator Nancy Grabko, who works with the Cook County/Grand Marais Joint Economic Development Authority, or EDA, has been helping Tofte look for grants to fund the study.
“I’ve been working with the Tofte Township for nearly two years now, looking to secure matching funds so that they can do an assisted living senior market study,” says Grabko.
Tofte has committed $3,000 towards the study, but finding matching funds has proved difficult, and after a grant application to the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) was turned down last month, Housing Program Coordinator Nancy Grabko recommended that Tofte Township ask the EDA for funding assistance.
“You know, doing the study is nearly at the top of the list of priorities for the township, and being that the EDA certainly is an entire Cook County service agency, you know, we made request to the EDA to provide the match funds so that Tofte could move forward in doing the study. It’s the very first step, and we can’t do anything until we get a study that actually verifies that there is a need and a want, and then, at that time, if that’s identified, then our job grows in chasing lots of funding grant opportunities in order to get the place put up.”
Grabko asked the EDA board to contribute $2,500 for the study, from a special EDA housing fund, which the board agreed to at its September 14th meeting. The housing fund is earmarked solely for housing related activities, and has a current balance, after the Tofte contribution, of just over $6,000. Grabko says she and the EDA will continue to assist Tofte, both in completing the study and in seeking future funding for the project.
“We have a real need to provide this type of a facility so that our seniors can remain in the community that they love and they’ve lived in their entire life, and any one of us would want that when we get old,” says Grabko. “And that’s our goal, is just to continue to work to identify and address all housing needs, whether it be our young families or our frail elderly. I’m just so pleased that the EDA recognized the need and that we had the financial ability to help.”
Grabko will meet with the Tofte Township board of supervisors in early October to discuss the timeline for the study, and the next steps in making the project, a senior assisted living facility in Tofte, a reality.