Rochester receives two new grants for downtown improvements

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(ABC 6 News) – A lot has changed in downtown Rochester the past few years.

With the pandemic and inflation, businesses have been struggling, some closing for good. But, help is on the way for businesses. The city received two grants to help spur economic growth downtown.

Christina Jones just opened her shop ‘True Queens Boutique’ in downtown in July. Her business will benefit from this much needed grant money. She says receiving this grant is exciting and she feels very welcomed by the community.

“They support small businesses, they are there to help, and they know what’s going on. So they’re aware of how it’s hard to get small business growing and going,” said Jones.

The boutique is getting grant money from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s ‘Main Street Economic Revitalization Program.

The program is giving out $3 million total to businesses in the downtown area and there is still time for businesses to apply.

The money will go towards businesses improving to the physical aspects of their stores.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton saying this money is vital to the economic growth of downtown, “Its really important as we come out the pandemic to build back a strong business, small business infrastructure here in the community. So, we were really excited to win this $3 million.”

The city of Rochester has also received federal grant money for renovations to the Chateau Theater and the Mayo Civic Center in an effort to help promote Rochester tourism.

RELATED: Rochester to receive federal funding supporting travel and tourism

The project will support around 300 jobs while boosting the tourism industry and advancing economic resilience in the region.

The investment is made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which Klobuchar and Smith helped pass earlier this year.

“We’re bringing those tax dollars back to Rochester. So, it’s a very exciting time,” said Mayor Norton. This grant will also create 300 jobs and leverage $2 million in private investments.

Rochester resident Steven Briggs is excited to see the improvements this money will bring. He said, “They could definitely use some work and they can definitely be improved upon. Especially, when your in a town full of Mayo Clinic and people come from al over the world. So, that’s super exciting.”

Briggs added that he’s happy to live in a city that’s so committed to improving itself. “I think that’s super important. I mean otherwise you’re just going to stay still or you’re dying. So, if you’re dedicated to improving the town, that’s huge,” said Briggs.