Revitalization Grants OK’d in Five Communities
LITTLE FALLS, MN—Eleven hometown projects that will bring nearly $955,000 in main street improvements to Brainerd, Cold Spring, Little Falls, Long Prairie and Pine River have been approved by the Initiative Foundation as part of the Minnesota Main Street Revitalization program. Since the start of the project, the Initiative Foundation has approved nearly 50 additional projects with investments totaling more than $18.3 million.
The funding is supported by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), which allocated $4.5 million to the Initiative Foundation for Central Minnesota economic development opportunities. The Minnesota Main Street Revitalization Program provides for 30 percent matching grants and guaranteed loans for economic and redevelopment needs that have arisen since the March 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses must have or secure the remaining 70 percent of funding.
The Initiative Foundation worked with Brainerd, Cold Spring, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Pine River and St. Cloud to identify corridors that experienced COVID-19 impacts—from travel and tourism businesses to site improvement to upgrading commercial property vacancies. Funding can be used for demolition and site preparation, engineering and design, repair, renovation and construction. All projects must be completed within a 36-month window that will close in July 2025.
The most recent projects to receive funding have an estimated total investment of $954,617. These projects have submitted the necessary documentation to receive funding recommended by their local economic development authority and the Initiative Foundation:
- Teeny Bubbles, Inc.: 1002 Laurel St.—$45,000 to remodel a building to become a childcare center. Total project cost: $427,300.
- Moore’s Properties: 605 Laurel St.—$14,400 for awning and parking lot repairs. Total project cost: $45,346.
- Wagner Holdings: 101 Washington St.—$11,759 for a new roof, exterior paint and parking lot refurbishments. Total project cost: $39,199.
- Copper Cat Escape Games: 605 Laurel St.—$6,000 for signs and building materials. Total project cost: $20,000.
- The Gallery of Brainerd: 222 S. 7th St.—$3,460 to repair signage and awnings. Total project cost: $11,535.
- American Legion Post 255: 708 Front St.—$3,000 to repair interior pulleys and cables for the flagpole. Total project cost: $10,000.
- Grumpy’s Bar: 313 Main St.—$40,000 for an addition, remodel and landscaping. Total project cost: $140,000.
- Luberts Auto Parts Machine Shop: 105 First St. SE—$6,000 for roof repair and replacement. Total project cost: $20,000.
- Chavez Event Center, LLC: 220 1st Ave. S.—$17,359 for floor remodeling and landscaping. Total project cost: $57,863.
- Green Goose Properties, LLC: 409 Barclay Ave.—$5,000 for a new roof on the backside of the building. Total project cost: $27,900.
- GuidePoint Pharmacy: 200 Barclay Ave.—$15,000 to repair the roof and replace the storefront, windows, front door and basement door. Total project cost: $50,000.
About 30 remaining projects have been recommended for funding and are still securing bids or developing the documentation required to receive a grant. Anticipated total economic development allocations are as follows for each eligible community:
Cold Spring: $505,750
Little Falls: $632,130
Long Prairie $493,000
Pine River: $425,500
St. Cloud and East St. Cloud: $1.5 million
About the Initiative Foundation
The Initiative Foundation serves the 14 counties and two sovereign Native nations of Central Minnesota: Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties and the nations of the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe. Based in Little Falls, the Foundation exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities in Central Minnesota by offering business loans, nonprofit grants, leadership training and donor services through its Partner Funds programs. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds have invested multiple millions in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments.