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Sharing an idea for downtown Hancock

John Book speaks at a Feb. 19 meeting on a proposed childcare/event center and office building for downtown Hancock. Boon is one of the organizers of the proposed project. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

The crowd's response at a Feb. 19 meeting has encouraged organizers of a proposed childcare/event center with offices in Hancock to continue to work on the project.

"It means a lot of hard work," Troy Scott said of what is next for organizers of the proposed project in Hancock's downtown. "The first thing we need to do is get our financials in place and we are almost there."

The group also needs to further assess the proposed building and "after that we can hopefully start raising money," Scott said.

The project is designed to make money and the group will be seeking investors and donors to pay for the project.

Organizers of the proposed project will need to raise money to pay for estimated $3 million in construction costs for a project that will likely need to be completed by the the end of the year.

"It's a compressed timeline but it's nothing we didn't know about ahead of time," Scott said.

The deadline of project completion by Dec. 31 is set because Stevens County received a $46,100 grant to demolish vacant buildings on the lots. The city and county contributed another total $46,100 toward demolition. The grant requires that a tax-paying development must be built on the lots by the end of this year, Becky Young, the county coordinator, said at the meeting.

But, there is another type of deadline ahead for the proposed childcare/event center project.

The lots on which the childcare/event center project would be built are already earmarked for a townhouse project to be built by Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation. MMCDC is the parent company of Community Development Bank which has a bank in Hancock.

Justin Cronen of Community Development Bank said MMCDC needs to fulfill its obligation to the city and county. MMCDC is accepting bids on its proposed housing project. "Construction needs to start (soon)," Cronen said.

Cronen asked the childcare/event center group how much money it would need to raise to firmly decide to complete the projet. MMCDC would not set aside its housing project unless it was assured that the childcare/event center would be built, Cronen said.

Scott said at the meeting the group did not yet have those financial details.

The Feb. 19 meeting was designed to share information and gauge support for the project, Scott said on Feb. 20.

As the childcare/event center group keeps working, Scott said he will continue to have conversations with MMCDC about the two proposed projects.

The community needs to show its serious about the project and raising money quickly will do that, Scott said. "That's the reality. Unfortunately, we started late," he said. To learn about the questions asked at the meeting, click this link: https://www.stevenscountytimes.com/news/4578105-audience-has-range-quest...

The group has been working for about 7 ½ months on its proposed project. "We will give it our best effort...," Scott said.