Mayor Carter Announces Saint Paul Bridge Fund Grant Distribution Plan and Mississippi River Boulevard Lane Closure for Socially Distant Pedestrian and Bicycle Traffic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2020

Contact:
Peter Leggett
peter.leggett@ci.stpaul.mn.us
651-307-8603

Saint Paul, MN - Today, during a presentation to the Saint Paul City Council on the City’s COVID-19 response, Mayor Carter announced the Saint Paul Bridge Fund grant distribution plan and a temporary lane closure of the Mississippi River Boulevard to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to socially distance.  

“Thousands of families and small businesses applied to our Saint Paul Bridge Fund,” said Mayor Carter. “While the needs of our community are many, our city is united in our support for those most vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

SAINT PAUL BRIDGE FUND: PRELIMINARY APPLICANT DATA 
Saint Paul Bridge Fund applications closed on Sunday, April 19 at 5:00 PM. In the 10 days that applications were open, the City of Saint Paul received more than 5,200 applications to the Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Families, and more than 2,100 applications to the Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Small Businesses.  Preliminary data shows that while applications were received from across the city, 80% of applicants for the Families program and 71% of applicants for the Small Business program come from areas of concentrated poverty. 

Among Bridge Fund for Families applicants, 99% indicated they are experiencing reduced hours, less available work, that they had been laid off or furloughed, or had other factors related to COVID-19 that have resulted in a loss of income. 66% of applications identified as renters and 83% come from household sizes of 3 or more in their homes. 

Among Bridge Fund for Small Businesses applicants, 85% were ordered to close under an executive order from the Governor. 98% indicated they are independently owned, with 71% coming from areas of concentrated poverty. 

BRIDGE FUND GRANT DISTRIBUTION PLAN 
Following the close of the applications on Sunday, April 19 at 5:00 PM, all applicants were placed into a random selection process which assigned each application a random number for each program. Initial funding approved from the Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board includes $1 million for the Families program and $2.25 million for the Small Business program. With this funding, the first 1,000 eligible Family applicants and the first 300 eligible Small Business applicants in their respective numerical order will receive grant checks as soon as they are confirmed eligible through their submission of supporting documents.

Action taken by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board today to accept $747,980 in donations to date from philanthropic, corporate, and individual donors will provide funds for an additional 230 families and 69 more small businesses. The Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation is the fiscal agent for donations to the Saint Paul Bridge Fund. The review and disbursement process will proceed in the coming days and weeks until all City funds and funds donated by the community are distributed.

More information about the Saint Paul Bridge Fund can be found at  https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/planning-economic-development/saint-paul-bridge-fund 

TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURE ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER BOULEVARD 
Starting Thursday, April 23, Mississippi River Boulevard from Ford Parkway to Franklin Avenue will be closed to southbound vehicle traffic to allow for socially distant pedestrian and bicycle traffic. One-way vehicle traffic will be allowed northbound only. 

This temporary lane closure comes following the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s parallel closure of West River Parkway from 46th Avenue South to 11th Avenue South with northbound traffic restricted to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and their recent closure of East River Boulevard. Both closures are in effect through May 3.  

“Supporting opportunities for healthy activities during this pandemic is vital,” said Mayor Carter. “Expanding access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Mississippi River Boulevard creates a safe, socially distant way to enjoy our riverfront.” 

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