Maple Plain misses out on redevelopment grant funds
Hopes for a grant to help propel Maple Plain’s proposed downtown redevelopment project were dashed when the city was denied funding.
City officials had applied for a Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant to help the city pay for rebuilding parts of Main Street and Maple Avenue and to replace the water and sewer infrastructure under the streets. Though DEED officials ranked Maple Plain’s request near the top of the metro area proposals, Governor Mark Dayton did not award any money to the city.
Maple Plain’s request was just one out of 90 that were submitted to DEED officials to consider for funding. The 90 proposals amounted to a total request of a little more than $288 million. In the end, Dayton awarded about $47.5 million in grant money to nine of the applicants.
While the governor made the final decision on which projects would receive funding, DEED officials first evaluated all 90 applications. After an initial review, DEED officials removed 53 of the proposals. The remaining proposals were scored based on criteria such as project readiness, jobs created and regional impact.
Out of the 12 metro area projects that were scored, DEED officials ranked Maple Plain’s request for $930,500 third behind St. Paul’s request for funding to help pay for a new ballpark for the Saints and Minneapolis School District’s request to update athletic facilities.
In addition to the 12 applications from the metro area, DEED officials also scored 12 applications from the northern region, which includes cities such as Duluth, Virginia and Big Lake, and 13 applications from the southern region, which includes cities such as Hutchinson, Rochester and Mankato.
Dayton ultimately awarded funding to just two metro area projects. He awarded $25 million for a new Saints Stadium, which will be built on a vacant industrial lot in St. Paul’s Lowertown, and $2 million for continued design and engineering of the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, which aims to connect St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie to the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line in downtown Minneapolis.
DEED officials had ranked the light rail project 12th out of the 12 ranked metro projects. Out of a total of 100 possible points, DEED officials gave the light rail proposal 24 points compared to the Maple Plain proposal’s score of 58 and the ballpark score of 77. According to a press release on the funding, the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Line received a grant because, “it was decided that a more accurate analysis of the project’s job impact should be the total number of jobs, which would be created by the overall project, not just by this small component part.”
Dayton also awarded $8.5 million to Duluth, $4.2 million to Wadena, $763,750 to Hutchinson, $1.89 million to Redwood and Renville Counties, $1.5 million to Lonsdale, $1.1 million to Hector and $2.3 million to Litchfield. More information on the projects that were awarded funding may be found on DEED’s website www.positivelyminnesota.com. Click on the About Us tab at the top of the page and from there click on Competitive Contract Opportunities. On that page click on the Capital Projects Grant Program link.
“It was disappointing,” Maple Plain City Administrator Jason Ziemer said of the city’s proposal not being funded. “We felt we had a very strong application.”
Ziemer said that he had recently talked with Larry Palm, the developer the city is working with on the redevelopment project, and he said that Palm still wants to work on the project.
“He’s still very interested in seeing the project move forward,” Ziemer said.