The Main Street Economic Revitalization Grant Program’s completion was marked by a visit from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Matt Varilek on a pleasant day in October. Over two rounds of funding, Destination Medical Center (DMC) allocated nearly $4 million to support over 70 businesses and organizations in Rochester.
Patrick Seeb, DMC EDA Executive Director, emphasized the importance of downtowns as they embody the essence and identity of a community, whether it’s in Rochester, St. Cloud, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or Mankato. Recognizing this, the State of Minnesota wisely chose to support downtown areas in their recovery.
Destination Medical Center received funding from MN DEED to distribute to current and future organizations in three key business districts in Rochester for capital improvement projects. These business districts include the DMC district, the southeast Crossroads to Bear Creek area, and the Northgate area.
The grant awards ranged from $5,000 to $500,000, with an average award of around $59,000. Thanks to this initiative, over 300 permanent jobs have been created, and 22 vacant storefronts are now occupied.
While these grants were available to all, special efforts were made to reach out to BIPOC-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses in these areas. These efforts resulted in 20 BIPOC-owned businesses receiving grant funding, and 18 woman- and veteran-owned businesses also being awarded funding.
This program has played a vital role in supporting and revitalizing downtown areas, fostering economic growth, and creating opportunities for a diverse range of businesses and organizations.