A $6.9 million psychiatric treatment facility for 52 emotionally disturbed children from throughout northern Minnesota, could be developed at two sites in Grand Rapids with assistance from the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation

  The nine-member Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation board meets at 9 a.m., Monday at Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation headquarters in Eveleth to consider the children's treatment facility proposal from North Homes Children and Family Services. The IRRR Board is made up of area legislators. 

  “All in all, these kind of beds are needed badly in rural areas in Minnesota,” said Mark Phillips, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation commissioner. “We need more juvenile facilities like this which help keep families close to home.”

  North Homes Children and Family Services is a private, non-profit agency with offices in Grand Rapids, Bemidji and Duluth. It currently provides comprehensive mental health services to more than 4,700 children and families across northern Minnesota.

  The new facilities, which would open in August 2020 in Grand Rapids, will provide service to children ages 11 to 18. Education to the children will be provided by the Grand Rapids school district. Twenty beds will be located at a Community Mental Heath Center. An additional 32 beds will be located at a new 12,000 square-foot facility. The project creates 65-80 new jobs at $32,240 to $75,000 per year, plus benefits.

  “Our goal is to get the system set up so that kids can be close to home,” said Jim Christmas, North Homes Children and Family Services chief executive officer and president. “It's very badly needed for our region's kids. Right now, we have kids stuck in shelters, ER's, being shipped out of the state, or ending up in the corrections system. A lot of kids are getting placed out of state and Minnesota wants to keep the kids close to home.”

    Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation would provide a $1 million loan, $268,000 infrastructure grant and a $17,000 demolition grant for the project. Blandin Foundation would provide a $700,000 grant along with a Department of Human Services $200,000 grant. 

  “We're excited about this,” said Phillips. “We think they're a good operator and have a sound business model.

  Other projects to be considered by the board are:

  • A $600,000 loan to Heliene USA, Inc. to acquire additional production equipment for its Mountain Iron solar panel manufacturing facility. Fifteen new jobs at $31,000 to $75,000 per year, plus benefits, would be created.
  • A $760,000 loan to Northern Opportunities, LLC., in Hibbing, for a building expansion and burn table purchase. Ten to 13 new jobs at $14 to $33 per hour would be created.
  • A $350,000 development infrastructure grant to the city of Grand Rapids for North Homes Incorporated of Grand Rapids site work and construction on two facilities.
  • A $250,000 development infrastructure grant to the city of Grand Rapids for water, sanitary sewer, sanitary sewer lift station, storm sewer, and roadways to new single-family and multi-family housing development sites owned by the Grand Rapids Economic development Authority on the west side of Grand Rapids. 
  • A $250,000 development infrastructure grant to Bois Forte Band of Chippewa for infrastructure, roads and site work for a new 6,000 square-foot, $1.3 million public works maintenance facility.
  • A $250,000 development infrastructure grant to the city of Cohasset for phase two site work and construction of a new $1.2 million, 3,000 square-foot senior-community center.
  • A $579,272 broadband infrastructure grant to Bois Forte Band of Chippewa to support a $2.3 million project to construct broadband fiber to serve 442 unserved and underserved households within Bois Forte Reservation.
  • A $105,450 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications - Ash River (Northwest St. Louis Unorganized) to support a $421,800 project to construct broadband fiber to 121 unserved and underserved households in the Ash River area.
  • A $236,400 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Kabetogama Area (Kabetogama and Northwest St. Louis Unorganized) for a $945,600 project to construct broadband fiber to 207 unserved and underserved households in the Kabetogma area.
  • A $224,000 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Morcom Township for a $899,200 project to construct broadband fiber to 126 unserved and underserved households in Morcom Township area. 
  • A $236,050 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Elephant Lake & Black Duck Lake (Camp 5 Unorganized Township) for a $944,200 project to construct broadband fiber to 124 unserved and underserved households near Elephant Lake.

  The broadband projects leverage private funding and the Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, said Phillips.

  “We've always struggled to find a role in broadband,” he said. “But where we're landing is in a spot where we've found a spot for the public match. We're pretty excited about this because there's a lot of private money from the providers and there's a lot of border-to-border money.”