The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said it will launch its new Main Street Economic Revitalization Program on Aug. 3.

This $80 million statewide economic redevelopment program will award grants to partner organizations to establish programs within specific communities that will, in turn, fund economic development and redevelopment projects.

These projects will address the greatest needs that have arisen in Minnesota communities since March 15, 2020 and spur economic revitalization across the state.

The program was approved by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz on June 29.

“We’re excited to develop this new program to help Minnesota recover from the crisis of the last year and a half,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in announcing the program’s launch. “Not only will these grants and loans create jobs, but they’ll help spark investment in main streets across the state.”

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DEED said proposals will be accepted from eligible partner organizations, which include foundations engaged in economic development; community development financial institutions; and nonprofit organizations engaged in housing and commercial development. Request for proposals (RFPs) will open at 3 p.m. on Aug. 3 and be due by 4 p.m. Aug. 31.

Partner organizations selected for grants will then provide grants and loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations and developers – funds which can be used for the demolition, repair, renovation and construction of eligible projects.

A total of $80 million is available in grants to partner organizations. No more than $40 million is available in the first round. Dates for the second round have not yet been identified but will be before March 1, 2022. Partner organizations will be publicly announced this fall.

“This is a unique opportunity for nonprofit partner organizations to lead revitalization efforts in their communities,” said DEED Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development and Research Kevin McKinnon. “We hope to see a broad range of creative proposals.”