“I’m proud that we’ve given small businesses, the engines of job creation in our city and across our state, the tools they need to build prosperity. The vitality of the businesses and business associations that have taken advantage of ‘Great Streets‘ tools — real estate development gap financing, low-interest loans, façade improvement grants or marketing assistance — are showing that Minneapolis is a city of opportunity for everyone,” Mayor R.T. Rybak said.
“The city’s business districts are the front doors to its neighborhoods. Highly visible investments in commercial properties improve the perception of the area, spur improvements by other area businesses, and also attract new businesses,” said Council President Barbara A. Johnson. She added, “Homebuyers also look for viable business districts, amenities in the neighborhoods.”
Organizations administering Great Streets Façade Improvement Programs are responsible for spearheading the marketing effort, energizing local merchants and property owners, staffing a location where businesses can go for assistance, keeping records, and managing funds. Monies are matched by the business, the property owner, or other sources from the local grantee organizations. Recipients of the funding include:
- Bancroft Neighborhood Association: $50,000 for façade improvement in the areas of 38th St. and 4th Ave.; 38th St. and Chicago Ave.; 38th St. and Bloomington, and 42nd St. and Bloomington.
- East Downtown Council: $50,000 for façade improvement in the areas of Chicago Ave. (between 8th St. and Franklin); Chicago Ave. (between 8th St. and 2nd St.); Washington Ave.; Mill District.
- Lake Street Council: $50,000 for façade improvement in the areas of East Lake St., Midtown; West Lake St.; Lagoon, Excelsior; Chicago Ave. and Lake St., Nicollet and Lake St.; Lyn-Lake.
- Nicollet-East Harriet Business Association: $50,000 for façade improvement in the areas of 38th St. and Nicollet; 36th St. and Bryant Ave., 46th St. and Bryant Ave.; 36th St. and Lyndale Ave.; 40th St. and Lyndale; 38th St. and Grand Ave.; 43rd St. and Nicollet; 46th St. and Nicollet; 48th St. and Nicollet.
- Northside Arts Collective: $50,000 for façade improvement along West Broadway.
- Seward Redesign in partnership with Seward Neighborhood Group and Seward Civic and Commercial Association: $25,000 for façade improvement along Franklin Avenue and at the Franklin Avenue LRT Station Area.
- Seward Redesign in partnership with Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association and West of the Rail Business Association: $50,000 for façade improvement in the areas of 38th St and 46th St. LRT stations; 38th St. and 23rd Ave.; 38th St. and 28th Ave.; 38th St. and Cedar Ave; 42nd St. and Bloomington; 42nd St. and 28th Ave.; 42nd St. and Cedar.
- Seward Redesign in partnership with Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association: $50,000 for façade improvement along University Ave.
- West Bank Business Association: $50,000 for façade improvement in the areas of Cedar; Cedar-Riverside LRT Station Area.
- West Broadway Business and Area Coalition: $50,000 for façade improvement along West Broadway.
“For every dollar the City put into the project in the form of a grant, I put in five,” said Amos Deinard, owner of Nokomis Pet Clinic. “Another business owner a block away made changes to his signage and a new bike and coffee shop is now moving in on that corner as well,” he added.
“The grant for the 3800 Nicollet Avenue façade helped the building owner improve the look of that building, increasing the likelihood of attracting an anchor tenant—an important development on that corner,” said Roger Worm, a board member of the Nicollet-East Harriet Business Association.
The types of improvements funded through the program range from small adjustments—paint, signage, awnings, and murals—to full-scale rehabilitation and building stabilization such as tuckpointing, and window and door replacement.
The City has also published a design guidebook to assist businesses with façade improvements. The guidebook can be found on-line at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/docs/facade_design_guide.pdf.
The Minneapolis City Council established the Great Streets Neighborhood Business District Program in 2007 with the goal of supporting commercial districts and economic activity throughout the city of Minneapolis. The City has granted funds for use in 39 neighborhood business districts.