Is the St. Cloud Main Street Economic Revitalization Grant Right for You? March 9th Deadline
16 Feb 2023
The City of St. Cloud Economic Development Authority announced new grant programs for its Downtown Commercial Corridor: the Main Street Economic Revitalization Grant and Downtown Exterior Improvement Grant.
St. Cloud Main Street Economic Revitalization Grant
The Main Street Economic Revitalization Grant is state-funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED). St. Cloud, one of six Central Minnesota communities included, was initially allocated $1.5 million for projects in its Downtown Commercial Corridor. The second round of applications, accessible through this portal, closes on March 9. The first round of applications resulted in eight approved projects.
The Main Street Economic Revitalization Program is intended to provide grants for capital improvement projects in commercial corridors across the state that have been impacted by conditions that have arisen since March 2020. Grant awards can cover up to 30 percent of the project cost, up to a maximum of $750,000. The minimum grant award is $3,000. Projects receiving $200,000 or more must comply with prevailing wage requirements as required by the State of Minnesota. All projects must be completed by December 31, 2026.
All businesses within the Commercial Corridor are welcome to apply, but certain projects will receive priority consideration. These priority objectives include:
- Advancing projects that generate further investment in the corridor.
- Supporting small businesses.
- Increasing occupancy of currently vacant storefronts and downtown buildings.
- Enhancing opportunities for minorities, women, veterans, or other protected classes of entrepreneurs.
Projects enhancing permanent structures or creating new site amenities within the program boundary are eligible. Soft costs such as design, engineering, and/or construction expenses associated with the following projects are eligible:
- Construction of new buildings
- Renovation or repair of existing structures, including expansions or additions
- Demolition of existing blighted or obsolescent structures
- Landscaping, streetscaping, related site amenities
- Private infrastructure
The purchase of real estate is not eligible, nor are business operations or business operating expenses, such as ongoing maintenance, inventory, wages, or working capital. Works of art, including murals, are not eligible expenses for this program. However, those costs can be considered part of the matching contribution to any grants to a recipient. Additionally, the grant cannot provide funding for work underway, but it can cover additions to the original project plans.
Applicants must provide the following documentation:
- Fully completed online application.
- Estimate of project expenses from a credible source (e.g., architect, licensed contractor).
- Documentation of the secured 70 percent applicant match (e.g., pending or open loan with a financial institution, letter or line of credit, bank statement, or other grant awards).
- If property is leased, a note from the property owner in support of the project.
For assistance filling out the application, please contact St. Cloud EDA Staff at 320-255-7218, or email Cathy Mehelich, Economic Development Director, or Lyndsey Stram, Economic Development Specialist, for referral to a community partner resource.
Downtown Exterior Improvement Grant
Also available is the ongoing St. Cloud Downtown Exterior Improvement Grant Program, which provides incentives to stimulate external, visible investment in Downtown properties. Property owners and business owners are encouraged to consider improvements incorporating aesthetic, environmental, cultural, and historical elements that enhance downtown character and architecture to create a cohesive, attractive environment. Signage is ineligible.
The program provides a 50 percent matching grant for actual design and construction costs up to $10,000 per property on a pay-for-performance basis. Eligible projects include permanent exterior building and landscape improvements visible from a public right-of-way. Explore “Program Details” and “Frequently Asked Questions.” The program application can be completed online or as a printable PDF.
Benton Economic Partnership, BEP works to support industry, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Reach out to Amanda Othoudt, BEP Executive Director, at (320) 968-6197 or firstname.lastname@example.org for help with start-up, market data, available properties, workforce development, marketing, and more! Follow BEP on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to keep up-to-date on initiatives and resources.