Economic inclusion

Mayor Frey has prioritized economic policies that fuel growth in Minneapolis through inclusion. Since taking office, the mayor has centered Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and immigrants as partners and decision-makers for their communities. The mayor believes that the precision of our solutions must match the precision of the harms initially inflicted – and he has worked to embed that conviction in policy and practice.

Emergency Relief and Response

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor made clear that the city would not set aside its commitment to targeted, inclusive economic growth. Instead, he pledged to double down on the work underway and go farther where possible. And in the aftermath of the civil unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd, he has stayed true to his promise to dedicated city resources first where they are needed most.

The mayor’s office has also led in partnership with community to advance Minneapolis Forward, the citywide path to recovery and transformation and a commitment to doing things differently. Earlier this year the mayor and Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins invited the Minneapolis Forward Community Now Coalition Members Community Now Coalition members to lead the way int transforming Minneapolis into a stronger, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and innovative city.

Co-chaired by the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, Lake Street Council, and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, participants reflect leadership from Twin Cities businesses, cultural institutions, community organizations, labor, and foundations.

Learn more about Minneapolis Forward.

Gap Funding for Small Businesses

In response to an immediate need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Minneapolis established a Gap Funds for Housing Program in April 2020.

There’s no corner of our city that COVID-19 will leave untouched but the Mayor understood that the economic burden of the pandemic would be felt by some communities more than others. He targeted the city’s business relief programs to reflect that reality.

With $2.2 million in City funds, the Mayor put in place the Minneapolis Gap Funds for Small Businesses initiative which included new Forgivable No-interest Loans for small businesses with 20 employees or less and people who are self-employed along with a revamped 2% Loan program, adjusted to 0%. The new Forgivable No-Interest Loans for Small Business came in fixed amounts of $5,000 or $10,000, depending on need resulting from the COVID-19 emergency and served hundreds of community businesses.

Gap Funding for Housing

Through the new housing gap fund program, Mayor Frey directed $2 million to a new Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA) program and $1 million was used to temporarily expand the existing Stable Homes Stable Schools (SHSS) program.

The City received more than 8,000 applications for the Minneapolis Gap Funds for Housing during the application period in late April 2020. After removing duplicate applications and reviewing applications for initial eligibility, nearly 6,500 applicants were given a randomized number. Approximately 74% of applicants were placed in the EHA program and 26% in the SHSS Emergency Expansion program.

Community Prevention Partners and City staff continue to work through the EHA list to complete the full verification and approval process for each applicant. The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority has completed review of all applications on the SHSS list and final assistance payments have been made.

Minneapolis Forward: Rebuild Resilient

Mayor Frey partnered with Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Minneapolis Forward Community Now Coalition members to propose Minneapolis Forward: Rebuild Resilient a new strategy to support BIPOC, including immigrant-owned, businesses and those damaged during civil unrest. Through the Minneapolis Forward: Rebuild Resilient initiative, the City would invest up to $1.2 million in funding from the 2021 budget to community businesses.

The allocation is rooted in the recommendations and 8 areas of action of the Minneapolis Forward Community Now Coalition. It would serve an estimated 200 – 250 Minneapolis business, helping realize $1.5 million annually in energy savings and decreasing the long-term costs to business owners in environmental justice communities.

Direct Support for Businesses

The mayor directed city staff to remove red tape for any business striving to recover after the summer’s civil unrest. As part of that directive, he put forward $2 million to take in direct support for demolition work for businesses whose demolition costs are not covered by insurance.

While many building owners had clean-up costs in excess of insurance benefits, the city has identified 16 sites where property owners are struggling with clean up funding gaps in excess of $100,000 each.

Commercial Property Development Fund and BIPOC ownership

The Commercial Property Development Fund (CPDF) is a new City financial tool created by the mayor’s office and city staff that provides developers and small businesses with patient debt capital to facilitate the acquisition or completion of commercial real estate development in areas of Minneapolis that have experienced historic disinvestment and are now vulnerable to displacement pressures.

The mayor started the CPDF with an initial investment of over $2 million and increased the funding by over $5 million in 2020.

Cultural Districts

Mayor Frey and his team worked closely with members of the city council to establish "cultural districts" within the city limits. Cultural districts are defined as contiguous areas with cultural and/or linguistic identity rooted in communities significantly populated by BIPOC and immigrant residents.

The initiative aims to address the displacement of BIPOC residents and businesses by strengthening commercials corridors while advancing and ensuring racial equity in district communities through investments, tools, and the establishment of policies and practices that directly benefit and respond to the needs of BIPOC communities.

Passed by the council and signed by Mayor Frey, a 2020 ordinance established cultural districts along 38th Street South, Cedar Avenue South, Central Avenue, East Lake Street, Franklin Avenue East, West Broadway, and Lowry Avenue North. City staff and policy leaders worked with 30 community leaders representing 20 organizations over the course of two years on the formation of the cultural districts ordinance.

See the Minneapolis 2040 Cultural Districts Policy

A Native American dance group performs in The Commons

Upper Harbor Terminal: Connecting North Minneapolis to the Riverfront

Upper Harbor Terminal is the Mayor's number one redevelopment priority and is working with the community and Collaborative Planning Commission to create a plan where North Minneapolis benefits first. Located along the Mississippi River, generally between the Lowry Avenue and Camden bridges, the site is the largest remaining single-owner development opportunity along the River in Minneapolis. The redevelopment goal is to transform this 48+ acre site from its historic use as a barge shipping terminal to a combination of riverfront park amenities and private development.

The Mayor and city leadership worked closely with State lawmakers to pass a major milestone when the project was awarded a $12.5 million State bonding award in 2020. The new funding brought the State bonding commitment to $27.5 million in total for the venue, parks and greenspace, and infrastructure.

For more details, see the Upper Terminal Harbor website

Opportunity Zones

The Opportunity Zones program was established by Congress to spur long-term private sector investments in low-income rural and urban communities nationwide.

See the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017

Each Governor is authorized to designate 25% of the eligible low-income census tracts as Opportunity Zones in their state. Here is the breakout for our city and state:

  1. Minneapolis has 69 eligible low-income census tracts, 60 of which qualify as “most distressed.”
  2. In Minnesota, the Governor can designate 128 census tracts as Opportunity Zones out of an eligible 509 low-income census tracts.
  3. The Governor can include up to 5% of census tracts that are contiguous with an eligible census tract but are not themselves low-income tracts. In Minnesota, the Governor could designate up to 7 tracts as contiguous out of the state's 128 designated Opportunity Zones.

This is the first new national community investment program in over 15 years and has the potential to be the largest economic development program in the U.S. Learn more about Opportunity Zones:

Contact us

Mayor's Office

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City Hall, Room 331
350 S. Fifth St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Office hours

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

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