November 10, 2022
Mayor Carter Announces $4.65 Million in
New Investments for Community Businesses,
Low-Income Families, and Artists
American Rescue Plan Funds Will Support Community-Owned Businesses, Home Improvements for Low-Income Families, and Investments in Local Cultural Arts Initiatives
SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, Mayor Carter announced $4.65 million in City of Saint Paul American Rescue Plan (ARP) investments to boost community ownership and improvements of local businesses, provide repairs and cold-weather upgrades to housing units for low-income families, and create opportunities for artists to activate the City’s cultural corridors.
Today’s announcement reflects a coordinated effort by the Mayor’s Office, the Office of Financial Empowerment, Department of Safety and Inspections, and Department of Planning and Economic Development to support community vitality amid efforts to rebuild from the pandemic.
“Preserving our homes, businesses, and cultural identities in Saint Paul is critical to our longevity and success,” said Mayor Carter. “These important investments ensure we maintain the high standard of our Capital City and provide a vibrant and healthy place for everyone to live, play, work, and visit.”
LOCAL Fund - $2.5 million
COVID-19 has exacerbated historical disparities in business and real estate ownership. The Locally Owned Cooperative Assistance Loan (LOCAL) Fund will use shared-ownership models to increase local ownership of businesses and properties. This will give community members a voice and an economic stake in their workplace and/or neighborhood commercial developments. The LOCAL Fund will retain and grow businesses and jobs while increasing local ownership of businesses and commercial real estate in Saint Paul.
Technical assistance on cooperative development and a limited number of cooperative grants and loans will be available to support business expansion into employee ownership, employee-owned start-ups, and community-owned commercial real estate. The program will build Saint Paul’s economic resilience by strengthening businesses as they push through in weathering the pandemic economy and promote local community ownership and redevelopment of vacant and abandoned properties in Saint Paul.
The Office of Financial Empowerment, in partnership with Department of Planning and Economic Development, will administer the program with community partners.
Healthy Homes Saint Paul - $1 million
Healthy Homes Saint Paul is an opportunity to invest in much-needed home repairs and weatherization in homes of low-income Saint Paul residents who live in one- to four-unit residential properties and were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. ARP funds will be used as grants to make homes safer and more livable for eligible families, and critical weatherization improvements will reduce their energy bills. The program will serve both homeowners and renters living in the lowest income and lowest wealth neighborhoods of Saint Paul.
Through this program, the City will build on existing low-income weatherization programs run by community-based organization partners. Healthy Homes Saint Paul will free up these existing low-income weatherization program dollars by investing in the needed “pre-weatherization” home repairs. This investment also creates job opportunities to complete the residential home improvement and weatherization work.
The Department of Planning and Economic Development will administer this program.
Creative Economy Project - $1 million
Colorful, thought-provoking, and intricate expressions of local artists drive economic activity and placemaking in neighborhoods throughout Saint Paul, and the Creative Economy Project aims to entice and increase this opportunity. Dozens of artists will receive funding to create projects and installations in several neighborhoods and commercial corridors in Saint Paul, connecting and engaging locals and tourists with the area and its cultural identity.
This program will focus on uplifting the significance of Saint Paul’s Cultural Destination Areas and historically underinvested commercial corridors by strategically engaging the artist community and cultural placekeepers with paid projects and training. Together, they will help grow the capacity for local arts and organizations to support the thriving and unique cultures that call Saint Paul home to support creative placemaking and corridor economic development.
The Department of Planning and Economic Development will administer the project.
Sewer Availability Charge Financial Assistance - $150,000
Outdoor dining is growing in popularity across Saint Paul, with many establishments finding creative ways to expand their footprints, especially in the summer months. In order to achieve a safe, healthy dining experience, the City leverages a sewer availability charge (SAC). SAC is a one-time fee, paid for new connections or increased capacity of wastewater.
ARP funds will support a portion of SAC fees, which would reduce the fee charged to businesses to help facilitate permanent outdoor dining spaces. Through this project, more restaurants will have the opportunity to explore outdoor service, giving patrons and Saint Paul residents more options for dining.
The Department of Safety and Inspections will administer the program.