By JANE MCCLURE
Area projects compete for STAR Program funding
Several area projects are vying for St. Paul’s Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) Program grants and loans. At the deadline, city officials received 31 requests. The total sought is $5,038,315, with $4,356,902 in grants and $681,413 in loans. Applicants propose matches totaling $33,907,471.
The applications undergo review starting this month, with City Council action expected this summer. The requests far exceed what is available in funding, with the awards usually less than $2 million total.
Two requests center on assistance for immigrants. A citywide request with local implications is African Economic Development Solutions’ request for $100,000 in grant funds to set up a revolving loan program for African immigrant business owners. Loans would be for exterior and interior business improvements. The nonprofit has worked with businesses along N. Snelling Ave. A $123,000 match is proposed.
Another area group that works with immigrants is the International Institute of Minnesota, 1694 Como Ave. The nonprofit is seeking a $400,000 grant for its Second Century Campaign, a $6.5 million effort to redesign existing space and add space to better serve new American with workforce training.
Other area projects seeking funds include:
• Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest. The youth service group wishes to purchase and rehabilitate 1745 University Ave., which most recently has been a charter school. The group seeks a $1 million grant toward a $15.3 million project. The building would be rehabilitated to meet Junior Achievement’s needs.
• Joy to the People Foundation, 890 Cromwell Ave. The youth service and sports nonprofit is seeking a $30,000 loan and $30,000 grant, with a $60,000 match. This would be for the Campinho Project, to create an outdoor play center with changeable field configurations for multi-sports use. One unique feature would be the use of a cork fill field material that is considered safer than other turf field fill materials.
Watershed district to move to their own building in Midway
Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) is moving from Como to the Midway. The nonprofit purchased the MacQueen Equipment building located at the intersection of Thomas Ave. and Aldine St. for $1.35 million. CRWD plans to rehabilitate the former industrial building, located just blocks from the Green Line, with the goal of moving in within a year. Early plans include more space to accommodate the district’s regulatory, water monitoring, project, and outreach program staff, demonstration of clean water practices and community meeting space.
The district has been renting space in an office complex located on Energy Park Drive since 2004 and has hunted for a new space for the past few years.
“The board has spent countless hours carefully analyzing budgets, visiting potential sites, and examining the MacQueen property to ensure that it is a good investment that will meet the district’s present and future needs,” said Mike Thienes, CRWD Board of Managers Treasurer. “The MacQueen property will save residents’ money and better support the district as we work to protect, manage and improve water resources including Como Lake, Crosby Lake, Loeb Lake, Lake McCarrons and the Mississippi River.”