Insight News

Feb 09th

Grants support business districts

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Minneapolis this week approved $578,175 in grants to business districts through the City’s Great Streets neighborhood business district program. The grants will assist business districts throughout the city with technical assistance such as branding and marketing, merchandising, business recruitment, and design services.

Recognizing that commercial areas are not the same, the Great Streets Business District Support Program is designed to support a range of activities that strengthen and support neighborhood businesses districts throughout the city. In addition to providing important goods and services for residents, a significant number of jobs are located in neighborhood business districts. The most recent data, from December 2008, shows 133,802 jobs were located on commercial corridors.
A “Request for Proposals” was issued in January 2010; 32 proposals were received and 18 funded. The target contract amount was defined as between $5,000 and $50,000. Recipients include:

•    African Development Center: $50,000 for technical assistance, business planning, workshops on bookkeeping and accounting. Area: Cedar Riverside LRT area; Franklin Ave.; East lake; Midtown Lake; West Lake; Nicollet Ave.; Central Ave.
•    Catalyst Community Partners: $50,000 for business development, retail recruitment, site development, retail recruitment and messaging materials. Area: West Broadway
•    Elliot Park Neighborhood Inc.: $10,000 for tenant recruitment, redevelopment strategy, and pitch packet for investors. Area: Chicago Ave.
•    Latino Economic Development Center: $50,000 for technical assistance. Area: Midtown; East Lake Street; Central Ave.
•    Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers: $15,000 for technical assistance, business district capacity building. Area: 38th St. and Chicago.
•    Metropolitan Economic Development Association: $45,000 for business technical assistance. Area: West Broadway.
•    Native American Community Development Institute: $40,000 for corridor branding and analysis and design, marketing materials, and business directory. Area: Franklin Ave.; Franklin Ave. LRT.
•    Neighborhood Development Center/Midtown Global Market: $40,000 for business technical assistance and marketing. Area: Midtown Lake St. (Midtown Global Market); Midtown LRT Station; Chicago and Lake St. Activity Center.
•    Nicollet East Harriet Business Association: $40,000 for marketing and branding. Area: 38th St. and Nicollet; 43rd St. and Nicollet; 46th St. and Nicollet; 48th St. and Nicollet; 38th St. and Grand; 36th St. and Lyndale; 40th St. and Lyndale; 36th St. and Bryant; 46th St. and Bryant.
•    Northeast CDC/Northeast Chamber of Commerce: $10,000 for outreach to businesses, referral to technical assistance services. Area: 13th Ave. NE and  University Ave. NE; 22nd Ave. NE and Johnson St. NE; 29th Ave. NE and Johnson St. NE; 37th St. NE and Central Ave. NE; Lowry Ave. NE and Marshall St. NE; Lowry Ave. NE and University Ave. NE; Central Ave.
•    PEACE Foundation: $10,000 to support the Northside event, FLOW. Area: West Broadway.
•    Seward Redesign: $22,000 to develop a tenant recruitment packet, recruit businesses, direct work with property owners. Area: Franklin Ave. (LRT to river); Franklin Ave LRT (east side).
•    Seward Redesign with SENA: $42,900 for business recruitment, encouraging investment, business organizing, and branding. Area: 38th St. LRT; 46t St. LRT; 28th Ave. & 42nd St.; Cedar & 42nd St.; Cedar and Minnehaha.
•    Sheridan Neighborhood Organization: $20,000 for branding and event production. Area: 13th Ave. NE and University Ave.  NE.
•    Uptown Association: $24,975 (challenge grant) for branding, development of marketing materials including brochures, website, banners. Area: West Lake St., Lake and Hennepin; Lyndale Ave.
•    Victory Neighborhood Association: $20,000 for marketing and branding. Area: 44th St. and Penn Ave. N.; 42nd St. and Thomas Ave. N.
•    West Bank Business Association: $50,000 for public safety activities, branding, marketing, and special events. Area: Cedar Riverside LRT area; Cedar; Riverside.
•    West Broadway Coalition: $38,300 for coordinating street cleaning, community clean-up events, Adopt-A-Block, and Winter Carnival. Area: West Broadway.

Great Streets Program Outcomes

In 2008 and 2009, through the Great Streets Business District Support program, over 270 businesses received technical assistance in marketing, bookkeeping, product mix, licensing and code requirements, and business planning. This type of technical assistance supports both new and existing businesses.

Technical assistance for businesses is given high priority within this program. Especially given the economic conditions of the last couple of years, supporting existing businesses as well as growing new businesses and creating jobs is critical.

One example, the Latino Economic Development Center worked closely with Tortilleria La Perla when the economy entered into crisis, avoiding the loss of 40 jobs had the business failed.

Daniel Bonilla, Program and Projects Coordinator for the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) says, “The Great Streets Business District Support grant is providing opportunities for local CDCs [Community Development Corporations] to help small business to remain open, keep current jobs, and work more efficiently in the middle of this economic crisis.” LEDC has excelled at responding to businesses’ needs with flexible and innovative programming.
LEDC recently implemented a proactive, comprehensive “check up” program for businesses, to make sure they understand and comply with the City’s regulations and ordinances. Since 2003, LEDC has provided training and technical assistance to 610 businesses, 390 of which were start-ups, and of those, 295 are still in business.

More on the Great Streets Program

Neighborhood business districts are essential elements of a great city. In 2007, the Minneapolis City Council approved the Great Streets Neighborhood Business District Program, a coordinated effort to help businesses develop and succeed along commercial corridors and at commercial nodes throughout the city.

Through the Great Streets program, the City also provides funding to business districts for other activities that support the economic vitality of the entire district, including business loans, real estate development gap financing and business district assistance such as market studies and retail recruitment efforts, and façade improvement grants.

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