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Over $1 million available to fund Bemidji area Main Street Economic Revitalization projects

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has been awarded nearly $2,188,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development through its Main Street Economic Revitalization Program to fund eligible projects designed to address the greatest economic development and redevelopment needs that have arisen since March 15, 2020.

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Northwest Minnesota Foundation
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BEMIDJI — The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has been awarded nearly $2,188,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development through its Main Street Economic Revitalization Program to fund eligible projects designed to address the greatest economic development and redevelopment needs that have arisen since March 15, 2020.

Projects must be located in specific boundaries in Bemidji, East Grand Forks and the Highway 59 corridor.

For the Bemidji corridor, there is $1,177,391 available. This specific Bemidji corridor is defined as the area south of 20th Street Northwest and north of Roosevelt Road, with a west boundary of U.S. Highway 71, and east boundary of Lake Bemidji/Lake Avenue. Eligible projects must be located within these boundaries.

Eligible projects include the repair or renovation of property, building construction, landscaping, streetscaping, demolition and site preparation, pre-design, design, engineering, non-publicly owned infrastructure, and related site amenities, a release said.

Grants cannot be used for the purchase of real estate, purchase of business operations or business operating expenses (such as inventory, wages and working capital). Applicants may be businesses, nonprofits and/or economic development professionals.

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Renovations or construction must begin by Jan. 5, 2024, and must be complete by June 30, 2026. Grants can cover up to 30% of the project costs, the release added.

The maximum grant allowed, per Main Street Revitalization Economic Program guidelines, is $750,000. While NMF has not placed a cap on the grant amount that could be awarded, high interest in the program may result in grant requests only being partially funded.

Proof of matching funds is required. Matching funds cannot include state or federal funds or existing equity in buildings.

Examples of matching funds include a bank commitment letter, bank statement or balance sheet showing cash on hand, or commitment letter from a donor, etc., the release said.

To apply, visit www.nwmf.org and click on “Open Grant Rounds.”

The application deadline for the first round of funding is Dec. 20. Applications will be reviewed after Jan. 1, 2023. All applicants will be notified of a decision after the review process has been completed.

Applications received after Dec. 20 will be reviewed thereafter on a monthly basis or until all funds are committed.

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