Friday, May 7, 2010

Minneapolis Great Streets

Minneapolis Great Streets Neighborhood Business District Program

West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) is currently administering two facade improvement programs for businesses along the West Broadway Corridor as part of the Minneapolis Great Streets Neighborhood Business District Program.

The facade program was created to help revitalize existing businesses. WBC is administering a traditional facade improvement program and an artist inspired façade improvement program. The façade improvement program is only one of the initiatives put forward by the City of Minneapolis within the Great Streets Program.

The Minneapolis Great Streets Neighborhood Business Districts program was created in 2007 to support revitalization and redevelopment of neighborhood commercial corridors and neighborhood commercial nodes throughout Minneapolis. 112 geographic areas (nodes and corridors) in Minneapolis have been identified as target support areas. There are four grant and loan opportunities included in the Great Streets Program: Business Loan Programs, Real Estate Development Gap Financing, Business District Support Grants, and the Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program.

The geographic eligibility is based on areas identified in the Minneapolis Plan; the City is interested in using public funds to fill the market gap necessary to spur redevelopment and investment in neighborhoods. Commercial corridors and nodes have been rated into three categories. Targeting the greatest amount of funds into areas with the most need.

Four different pools of money fund the corridor and node programs within the Great Street program. The program funding comes from a combination of sources, the funds total approximately 2 million for node revitalization and 2 million for corridor revitalization. (See Table 1) The funds from CARF are very restrictive, they can only be used within the “Common Project Areas” and can only for bricks and mortar. Funds from the Community Development Block Grant is also restrictive and can only be used within CDBG target areas, projects must “benefit low-and moderate-income people or remove blight.” The Minneapolis Economic Development Fund is not restrictive and can be used citywide for façade improvement, business district support, The Hilton Legacy fund is unrestricted. These funds can be made available to support businesses outside of targeted areas.

The financing formula works well for two reasons. It targets areas that are in great need but it still offers opportunities to businesses throughout the city that have a need. By targeting areas at different levels it directs funds appropriately based on the level of need. It also uses diverse sources of funding from both the local and federal level. By obtaining funds from a diverse sources the program is not in harm of being eliminated completely funding source stops funding the program or dries up.

There was a great article published today on the Artist Façade Program being administered by West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.

Policies set by the City of Minneapolis guide the Great Streets programs:
2009 Business District Support Grants April 28, 2009
City Council report on Great Streets April 17, 2007
Presentation to the City Council April 17, 2007
City Council report on Commercial Corridors November 7, 2006
The Minneapolis Plan, Chapter 4 Marketplaces: Neighborhoods 2000

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