Newton homeowners struggling to pay for housing repairs will be getting some extra help, thanks to a special funding program approved by the city.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the Newton City Commission voted to form an agreement with HOPE Home Repair Inc., a local non-profit, and Homestead Affordable Housing, Inc. The city will provide a revolving loan program for home repairs for income-eligible community members, using Community Development Block Grant funds.
“I think this is a really worthwhile project,” Commissioner Willis Heck said.
The city will commit up to $80,000 of idle CDBG funds — funds that can only be used for certain revolving loan programs, said Tim Johnson, assistant city manager. The home repairs will be financed by loans from the city and Affordable Housing Program funds awarded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka.

Other business
The Newton City Commission also approved an agreement with KemperSports Kansas Beverage LLC to provide food and beverage catering services for the new Meridian Center conference facility.
Kemper Sports previously was selected to manage the center and now has created a separate corporate entity – KemperSports Kansas Beverage LLC – to provide food and beverage services. City Attorney Bob Myers  said this format was selected due to license and liability considerations.
The KKB’s providing of food service will not be exclusive, meaning users of the conference center will be able to use other local catering services if they desire. However, the KKB will be the exclusive provider of alcoholic beverage services. Myers said there currently are no other alcoholic liquor caterers licensed to operate in Newton, and allowing an outside service could create control or liability issues.
Although private parties possibly could be allowed to bring in their own alcoholic beverages, the issue still is under discussion and would be tightly regulated, Myers said.
Chris Tuohey, regional manager for Kemper Sports, said Kemper staff would closely monitor alcohol consumption at the conference center to make sure nothing got out of hand.
“Alcohol is a responsibility, and when you serve it, you have to be responsible,” he said.
In other business, the commission approved the final plat for the Kansas Logistics Park Addition. The plat is located along the north side of Southeast 12th Street between Hauck Addition and Hillside. The property contains approximately 119 acres.