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City offers cash rebates to build in Harmony

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HARMONY, Minn. (KTTC)--TheHarmony Economic Development Authority is offering cash rebates to build newhomes in Harmony.  City officials said the program is meant to spur newconstruction and community growth.

"It'ssomething that's very bold, but Harmony's always been forward thinking and it'sa very interesting and unique community," said Harmony's EDA Coordinator,Chris Giesen.

The EDA willissue cash rebates to those building a new home ranging from $5,000 to$12,000.  The amounts will be based on the final estimated market value ofthe new home and will be paid to the property owner once one-hundred percent ofthe exterior features are complete.

Harmony isknown as "the biggest little town in Southern Minnesota"with a population of 1,020, according to a 2010 census.  Giesen said thecity's manufacturing industry, tourism, and business district will attracthundreds of new employees to Harmony in the next few years.

"We'rejust facing the issue that they might not have a place to live," saidGiesen.  "We have the homes, but the homes are probably on the lowerend or need fixing."

According toGiesen, four new homes were built in Harmony last year.  It was the firsttime since 2007 new homes were constructed in the city.

"Even mywife and I are looking at a homes and it's tough to find," said Harmonyresident and business owner, Kerry Kingsley.  "Some of these newhomes that do go on sale, they don't even make it to the realtor before they'resold. There's definitely a need."

There may bemore than 500 homes in city limits, but the EDA said they want more variety toaccommodate the city's diverse population.  The city has a goalof filling more than twenty vacant lots.

"It's anopportunity for the city to grow, but it's also an opportunity for our businessto be able to attract younger people to come into Harmony to live and have agood job," said lifelong resident and business owner, Steve Cremer.

The cash rebateprogram will run until program funds are expended or until ended by the city.

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