MINNEAPOLIS — After George Floyd's death, hundreds of businesses along the Lake Street corridor were destroyed.
There are some signs the 400 or so damaged businesses in the area are doing better, but there's still a void.
"For me, it's really sad to see this business because before it was really busy and now there's no people," said restaurant employee Elizabeth Mendoza.
She says the Mexican restaurant where she works is often empty.
To draw more people to the area, and help the ones already there and the businesses they run, Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development just awarded $40 million to several organizations like the Minneapolis Foundation, which is run by former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
"Those heroic entrepreneurs have stayed strong in spite of incredible obstacles," said Rybak.
The money is part of the Main Street Economic Revitalization Program that the legislature approved this year. The Minneapolis Foundation received $20 million.
"Is $20 million a lot? Yes. Is it enough? No, it's not," says DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. "But it's a good start and symbolic of the state saying we're invested in these Main Streets across our state."
The money will fund economic development and redevelopment projects. It has to be used on repairs, construction and landscaping, among other related uses.
And in Rybak's case, community groups prioritize where the money is needed most on Lake Street, along with the 38th Street corridor and West Broadway in north Minneapolis.
"It puts decision making where it belongs — at the grass roots level," said Rybak.
Besides civil unrest, the other groups that qualified for the money may also have experienced a natural disaster or COVID-19 impacts.
Here are those organizations that were selected in the first round.
- African Career, Education & Resource (ACER), INC, Brooklyn Center, $312,000
African Career, Education & Resource (ACER), Inc. provides access, equity, opportunity to African Immigrants in the north and northwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Their project will provide grants to businesses in commercial corridors in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center to support economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 outbreak and social unrest in the area.
- Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, Rochester, $3,120,000
The Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency supports the Destination Medical Center initiative in collaboration with the City of Rochester, Olmstead County, and the DMC Corporation. Their project will provide grants to businesses in the Rochester’s central business district to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation Inc., Duluth, $1,235,100
The Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation engages in neighborhoods with the highest racial and economic disparities in Duluth to provide a diverse range of loan and equity products for affordable housing, commercial real estate, community facilities, and business development. Their project will provide grants to businesses in the Downtown/Hillside area and the Aviation corridor to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and major employer closures.
- Heartland Lakes Development Commission, Park Rapids, $208,000
The Heartland Lakes Development Commission facilitates economic growth in the region that includes Park Rapids, Nevis, Dorset, and Lake George. Their project will provide grants to businesses in the commercial districts of Park Rapids, MN to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis, $20,800,000
The Minneapolis Foundation is a community foundation supporting efforts to address the greatest civic, social and economic needs of Minneapolis and surrounding communities through grantmaking, research, advocacy and donor services. Their project will include partnering with Propel Nonprofits and LISC Twin Cities to provide grants and loans to businesses impacted by the social unrest of Summer 2020 including the Lake Street corridor, the 38 th street corridor and West Broadway in North Minneapolis.
- Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation, Saint Paul, $8,960,000
The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is community foundation that collaborates with communities across Minnesota in identifying, convening around and advocating for critical issues that affect the world today. Their project will provide grants to business in the Snelling-University-Rice Cultural district, East Side and West Seventh commercial corridors to support economic recovery from the impacts of social unrest and the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Southwest Initiative Foundation, Hutchinson, $2,232,400
Southwest Initiative Foundation is a rural, regional community foundation serving the 18 counties and two Native Nations of Southwest Minnesota. Their project will provide grants and loans to businesses in the commercial corridors of Litchfield, Worthington and Granite Falls to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Virginia Community Foundation, Virginia, $1,794,100
The Virginia Community Foundation is a community foundation that supports the economic vibrancy of the city of Virginia in North East Minnesota. Their project will provide grants to businesses in the commercial corridors of Virginia to support economic recovery from widespread damage due to fire and the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dates for the second round have not yet been identified, but will be before March 1, 2022. Click here to find out if you're eligible to submit a proposal for grant funding.