‘Good opportunity’ for East College Drive

EDA seeks input on grant program for businesses

Photo courtesy of Economic Development Authority This is an aerial photo that shows the East College Drive corridor in Marshall. Together with the Southwest Initiative Foundation, the Marshall Economic Development Authority is developing an Economic Revitalization Grant program for commercial properties along East College Drive.

MARSHALL — Efforts to support local businesses can often focus around a community’s Main Street — but Marshall also has another major street for business, Marshall Economic Development Authority Director Lauren Deutz said. That’s the reason why a grant program being developed in Marshall will focus on East College Drive.

“It’s a very important corridor to Marshall,” Deutz said.

East College Drive is home to a variety of businesses, and acts as one of the main entry points to the city, she said.

In partnership with the Southwest Initiative Foundation, the Marshall EDA is working on a grant program to help commercial properties along the East College Drive corridor make building and landscaping improvements, Deutz said.

“The program itself is still in development,” she said. The EDA is looking for community input on the proposed program. One input session was held this week, and another is coming up on Monday.

Marshall was recently awarded a $644,000 Main Street Revitalization Grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The revitalization grant program is supposed to focus on corridors or areas of economic activity within a community, Deutz said.

For Marshall’s allocation, Deutz said, “We really thought we would focus these funds on the East College Drive stretch.”

There are around 65 buildings along East College Drive that could potentially be eligible for grant funding, she said.

The revitalization grants could help reimburse the costs of building construction, landscaping, architecture and engineering, utility or accessibility improvements for commercial properties, Deutz said.

The proposed program would provide grants of up to 30% of the project costs, with grantees eligible to receive up to $75,000 in grant reimbursement. However, Deutz said one of the things she hoped to hear feedback from property owners on was whether smaller grant amounts might work better. She said they were also discussing how best to handle situations where a commercial property has more than one tenant.

Deutz said the first public input meeting on the Economic Revitalization Grants was held Monday, and 14 property and business owners attended.

“I’ve had a lot of phone calls and questions from businesses,” she said. She encouraged business and property owners along the East College Drive corridor to attend an upcoming input session March 27.

“It’s a good opportunity,” she said of the grant program.

The March 27 input session will be held at 6 p.m., in the Blue Peak Room at the Red Baron Arena and Expo.


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