Revitalization Grants OK’d in Five Communities
LITTLE FALLS, MN—Seven hometown projects that will bring more than $1 million in main street improvements to Brainerd, Cold Spring, Little Falls, Pine River and St. Cloud 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 70 additional projects with investments totaling more than $20.3 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.
“In all six of the chosen communities, we’ve seen that these public funds have spurred investment, not only by the grantees, but by neighboring businesses as well,” said Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation vice president for community and workforce development. “The cities are experiencing increased vitality in their downtowns and a strengthened tax base.”
The six participating communities were able to meet the deadline for the program to identify corridors that experienced COVID-19 impacts. 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 a total investment of $164,593. These projects have submitted the necessary documentation to receive funding recommended by their local economic development authority and the Initiative Foundation:
- Music General, 416 S. 7th St.—$18,000 to repair the roof, install new flooring and update the entrance area. Total project cost: $65,000
- Yesterday’s Gone Bar & Grill, 219 S. 9th St.—$13,632 to repair and repave the parking lot. Total project cost: $45,441.
- CatTale’s Books & Gifts, 609 Laurel St.—$1,560 to updated cracked bookstore signage and to provide free books to the downtown community from a Little Free Library. Total project cost: $5,200.
- Discrete Designs, 309 Main St.—$2,070 for basement repairs. Total project cost: $6,900
- Mack Stewart, 101 E. Broadway St.—$100,740 for a total building renovation. Total project cost: $822,635.
- Black Sheep Design & Gift, 324 Barclay Ave.—$10,000 for building updates. Total project cost: $33,405.
- Tequilatown Cuisine & Club, 18 5th Ave. S.—$18,591 to remodel the building. Total project cost: $61,970.
About 25 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:
- Brainerd: $765,600
- 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