Incentive: Cash rebate for new home construction
In 2014, the leaders of this town of 1,020 in southern Minnesota, which bills itself as a “nice place to visit, even better place to live,” recognized that Harmony had a problem. The owner of one of the community’s major employers, Harmony Enterprises, told them that his new employees with young families had complained about the lack of move-in-ready homes, says Chris Giesen, economic development coordinator for Harmony. The city’s leaders also realized that Harmony’s median age was one of the highest and its median income was one of the lowest in Southeast Minnesota.
So in the spring of 2014, the Harmony Economic Development Authority (EDA) launched a home construction rebate program that offers a cash rebate of as much as $12,000 to those who build a new home. Giesen says that there are several existing lots with full city services for sale in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. No new homes have been built yet, but the Authority says it is working with a few applicants. In addition to Harmony Enterprises (a maker of recycling equipment), bridge-building contractor Minnowa Construction is headquartered in Harmony. The town’s large Amish population and Niagara Cave attract tourists.