A longtime social club, a Ramsey Hill park, a local food shelf and dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations are among those that are competing for 2021 Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) grants and loans from the city of Saint Paul. A total of 74 projects are vying for funding. Another six were rejected.
The 21-member Neighborhood STAR board is now reviewing the loan and grant applications and will make its recommendations to the mayor and City Council in late spring. The Planning Commission will also review the applications. The City Council is expected to approve final funding for the projects later this summer.
This year’s requests total $3.9 million in grants and $2.1 million in loans. The amount of money available for 2021 has not been released yet. The council allocated a total of $1.6 million last year, when 60 projects were submitted and 21 received funds. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the review of submissions for 2021 will again be conducted virtually.
The Neighborhood STAR program is funded by the city’s half percent sales tax. Any loan request of more than $50,000 must be matched with non-city resources.
One project seeking funding this year is the Sterling Club, 300 Saint Albans St. The African-American service club is requesting a $35,000 grant and $32,800 loan. The club formed in 1926 at a time when people of color were prohibited from joining other social organizations in the city.
Another local request is from Keystone Community Services, which hopes to open a new food shelf at 1790-1800 University Ave. The nonprofit organization is seeking a $100,000 grant to renovate two 1920s-era commercial buildings.
The Ramsey Hill Association is requesting a $20,483 grant to make improvements to Cochran Park at Summit and Western avenues. The park is home to Paul Manship’s 1926 bronze sculpture “Indian Hunter and His Dog.”
Other local projects and their loan and grant requests include the following:
- TRUCE Center and African-American Museum, 175 N. Lexington Pkwy., a $50,000 grant for building improvements.
- Ackerberg and Northland LLC, a $150,000 grant for a mural on a new mixed-use building under construction at 337 W. Seventh St.
- Best Steak House, 860 University Ave., a $6,209 grant and $12,418 loan to replace its roof and improve four second-floor apartments. The restaurant had a fire this spring and it is unclear what impact that will have on the request.
- Cafe Astoria, 325 W. Seventh St., a $25,000 grant to rehabilitate its building, including a new kitchen.
- Community Action Program of Ramsey and Washington Counties, 450 Syndicate St., a $40,000 grant and $60,000 loan to install a white roof and solar array on its building, which houses 15 nonprofits.
- Jandrich Floral, 976 W. Seventh St., a $22,500 grant to repair its facade.
- Little Szechuan, 422 University Ave., a $32,666 grant and $32,666 loan for building renovation and HVAC work.
- Minnesota Children’s Museum, 10 W. Seventh St., a $30,000 grant to make HVAC improvements.
- Public Art Saint Paul, a $15,000 grant for new signs at Western Sculpture Park and for 12 sculptures in other city parks.
- Quan Kim LLC, a $50,000 grant and $50,000 loan to renovate a commercial building at 680 University Ave.
- Remke Partners, a $75,000 grant and $75,000 loan to renovate the former Stransky’s Drive-In Liquors at 1545 W. Seventh St. The partnership owns and operates Black Dog Cafe in Lowertown.
- The Salvation Army, a $7,000 grant to install a garden, patio, play area and public space at its property at 237 Forbes Ave.
- Sannah Foundation, 1276 University Ave., a $100,000 grant to make interior and exterior building improvements.
- Seasoned Specialty Food Market, 1136 Grand Ave., a $38,000 grant for interior and exterior improvements.
- Treats, 770 Grand Ave., a $20,000 grant to make building and parking lot improvements.
- Victoria Theater Arts Center, 825 University Ave., a $100,000 grant to turn the former movie theater into an arts center.
- Waldmann Brewery, 445 Smith Ave., a $22,019 grant and $45,000 loan for landscaping, fencing, bike racks and a retaining wall.
- WHB Inc., 678 W. Seventh St., a $10,000 grant and $16,000 loan for mechanical system renovation and replacement at its building.
- White Squirrel, 974 W. Seventh St., a $20,000 grant and $20,000 loan to make exterior improvements at the planned bar and music hall.
- YWCA of Saint Paul, a $77,932 grant to rehabilitate supportive housing it owns in the Highland Park and Summit-University neighborhoods.
— Jane McClure
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