Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Economic Development in Ward 2

I've received some very interesting information detailing the great work that the Community Planning and Economic Development department is doing to strengthen the economy in Minneapolis, and more specifically in the Second Ward.

The Great Streets program has led to significant investments in Second Ward small businesses. Since 2007, Great Streets funding of business district support all over the Ward (Seward, the West Bank, Southeast and Stadium Village), façade improvement grants and real estate development loans totaling $1.4 million has leveraged more than $11.7 million in private investment. That's a leverage rate of more than 8 to 1. And those investments mean jobs: an estimated 79 jobs were created and 92 were retained due to this program, the large majority of them at the highly successful Seward Coop expansion.

Since 2006, CPED has made 60 small business finance loans available to Second Ward businesses, totaling over $3 million. But partly due to that City financing, businesses have invested over $1 billion over the same peiod. That's a staggering leverage rate of over 300 to 1. And again, these investments mean jobs: an estimated 271 new and 333 retained.

The City also works to develop polluted brownfields into usable space, both housing and business. Since 2009, 13 brownfield projects have received over $100 million in City financing, leveraging almost $350 million in private funds, a leverage rate of over 3 to 1. These investments have created or will create 740 new housing units and will create or retain over 1,600 jobs.

And the City has created jobs more directly, through the Minneapolis Employment and Training Program's summer youth employment programs. The number of kids served continues to grow: 114 youth got jobs in 2008, 129 in 2009, and 131 in 2010.

All of this work has real-world consequences. New businesses are moving into the Second Ward: 125 in 2009 and 128 in 2010. The unemployment rate in Minneapolis is 6.1%, a third lower than the US rate (9.1%), lower than it was a year ago (6.6%), lower then both the Twin Cities metro region and the state (6.3% and 6.8%, respectively).

But the difference between the unemployment rate in Minneapolis and the metro region and state is actually even greater than it appears, because the labor force in Minneapolis has held steady over the past year, while the labor force in the metro region and state has declined.

I want to specifically call out Cathy Polasky and her staff for their great work in growing the Minneapolis economy, even during this difficult economic period, and for the jobs and investment they've helped bring to the Second Ward. Keep it up!


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