Downtown Little Falls
Susy Prosapio, new owner of The Falls Theatre, and city administrator Jon Radermacher look forward to restoring the downtown Little Falls theater to its original grandeur.

DEED Announces Main Street Awards

LITTLE FALLS, MN—The Initiative Foundation has been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)’s Main Street Economic Revitalization Program to support economic development projects in downtown areas and select corridors in Brainerd, Cold Spring, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Pine River and St. Cloud/East St. Cloud.

“The last two-plus years have been a challenge for businesses and communities across Central Minnesota,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. “We are very excited about the opportunity to put to work the resources made available through this program. Main streets and downtown areas are so critical to the economy, and now we will have a lot of great opportunities to revitalize and strengthen those places. Our proposal includes projects like improvements to commercial spaces; entertainment venues that will drive foot traffic and support all the businesses around them; affordable housing; redeveloping facilities that can be home to affordable child care and more. There is a lot of great potential that we are excited to realize.”

DEED is delivering more than $42 million across Minnesota to nonprofit intermediary organizations. The $4.5 million received by the Initiative Foundation will fund 30 percent matching grants up to $750,000 to eligible projects in Little Falls, Cold Spring, Long Prairie, Brainerd, St. Cloud/East St. Cloud and Pine River.

The Initiative Foundation will work through the funding and application process logistics in the coming weeks with local advisory committees that are responsible for promoting, reviewing and ranking applications. The Foundation will also have resources to offer stipends or extend contracts to qualified partners to assure that language, culture, gender, military status, ability or any other classification is not a barrier to participation.

“I want to extend my appreciation to all those who made this funding possible, including bipartisan leadership in the legislature, and the Walz-Flanagan administration, especially our great partners at DEED,” said Varilek. “The program has been designed in a way that allows us to respond to local needs, and it requires the grants to be leveraged with other funds to maximize overall impact.”

“I’m thrilled by the range of creative and dynamic development proposals we got from main streets across the state,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. ”These investments will help re-build business clusters hit hardest by the challenges of the last few years – and they’ll create jobs and spark economic revitalization throughout Minnesota.”

To see the other Main Street Economic Revitalization award recipients, visit the DEED website.