Rhinelander WHEDA forum introduces public funding, lending sourcesSubmitted: 07/25/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Rhinelander WHEDA forum introduces public funding, lending sources
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) believes there's plenty of momentum to invest in rural communities.

That state organization hosted a resource forum in Rhinelander on Wednesday.

WHEDA Senior Business & Community Engagement Officer George Petak pointed to a plan for a $50 million state program for rural economic development. It didn't get considered by lawmakers this year, but likely will next year.

"There's a great deal of focus on rural economic development needs, and that includes farms, it includes the communities, it includes workforce housing," Petak said.

Antigo-based CoVantage Credit Union is one business taking advantage of WHEDA programs for its members. It offers low interest, low down payment mortgages with WHEDA backing.

"It's hard to find programs that work so well with families that don't have a large down payment. Not many people have that tucked away in their savings account," said CoVantage Mortgage Loan Originator Angela Retzlaff.

Wednesday's session offered elected officials and economic development workers an introduction to even more government resources. They learned about funding from the state Department of Administration, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

"We're always looking for programs or different things we can do to help our members," Retzlaff said. "If there's even one thing we can pick up today that can help someone, that's really our goal."

"We don't have all of the answers and the government doesn't have all of the answers," Petak said. "But working together, we hope to bring some solutions to the problems that are facing rural Wisconsin."

The Oneida County Economic Development Corporation helped host the forum.

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