Great River Children's Museum

Revitalization Grants Go to Three Communities

LITTLE FALLS, MN—Twelve hometown projects that will bring more than $10.2 million in main street improvements to Little Falls, Long Prairie and St. Cloud have been approved by the Initiative Foundation as part of the Minnesota Main Street Revitalization program. In December, the Initiative Foundation approved 13 projects with investments totaling $3.9 million in Brainerd, Cold Spring, Little Falls and Pine River.

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 following projects with an estimated total investment of $10.24 million have submitted the necessary documentation to receive funding recommended by their local economic development authority and the Initiative Foundation:

Little Falls

  • Black Dog Opportunities, 113 to 115 First St. SE: A $133,800 grant for demolition, exterior repair, mechanical and electrical upgrades. Total project cost: $1.27 million.
  • The Falls Theatre, 117 First St. SE: A $192,789 grant for demolition, interior and exterior repair, mechanical and electrical updates. Total project cost: $642,630.

St. Cloud

  • Great River Children’s Museum, 111 Seventh Ave. S.: A $199,000 grant to renovate a former bank building to create a children’s museum. Total project cost: $7.28 million.
  • Harvester Square, LLC, 539 E. St. Germain St., Suite 201: A $131,643 grant to remodel a 96-year-old building to create a distillery and events center. Total project cost: $438,809.

Long Prairie

  • Douglas Schmidt and Associates (American Family Insurance), 11 Central Ave.: A $5,541 grant to resurface the parking lot. Total project cost: $18,741.
  • Douglas Schmidt (Apartment Triplex), 121 Second St. S.: A $1,041 grant to install doors and shutters and paint the exterior. Total project cost: $3,471.
  • Bargain Barn, 151 Central Ave.: A $15,582 grant to replace the exterior and the roof. Total project cost: $51,940.
  • Enterprise-CP, LLC, 100 Banta Road: A $60,614 to replace the north portion of the roof to enhance worker safety. Total project cost: $281,256.
  • Lennes LP, LLC, 110 Lake St. S.: A $50,196 grant for an exterior and interior remodel and parking lot repair. This building houses a coffee shop and boutique. Total project cost: $175,925.
  • Nostalgic Long Prairie Drive-in, 24257 Riverside Drive: A $18,705 grant for interior and exterior repairs, restoration and painting. Total project cost: $62,350.
  • Planting Roots, LLC, 220 Lake St. S., Suite 103: A $1,425 grant to purchase a new outdoor sign for Highway 71. Total project cost: $4,750.
  • Wild Men Properties, LLC, 221 Lake St., Suite 104: A $4,500 grant to demolish a building to prepare for future commercial site. Total project cost: $15,000.

More than 100 additional 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: $1.5 million