The Metropolitan Council approved six Livable Communities grants to five communities: Brooklyn Center, Mahtomedi, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, and Saint Paul. Four are predevelopment grants for development that conserves energy, for example, and supports diverse communities. Two of the grants support local policies on zoning and sustainability.
“The predevelopment grants fund project feasibility studies, site planning, and community engagement work,” said Community Development Director Lisa Barajas. “They help to ensure that adequate study, evaluation, and community involvement go into making these developments as successful as possible.
“The Policy Development Grants is a new category of Livable Communities funding with the goal of enhancing local policies that affect physical development in the city,” Barajas said.
Predevelopment grant awards total $542,900 and policy development grant awards total $94,000.
Projects awarded Livable Communities predevelopment grants
Immigrant Opportunity Center — Center for Asian and Pacific Islanders, Brooklyn Center: $125,000 to support expansion of the center’s “campus” to include a Financial Opportunity and Benefits Center, tenant space for BIPOC-led nonprofit partners, and community event and training spaces. The overall objective is to improve connections and create economic opportunities for local objectives.
Nic@Lake, Minneapolis: $150,000 to support the inclusion of commercial space on the first floor of buildings facing Nicollet Avenue and Lake Street as part of redevelopment and intensified land use along West Lake Street. The development will help create living wage jobs and include affordable housing.
14th Ave. Townhomes, Minneapolis: $60,000 to support construction of affordable townhomes for ownership that are designed to reduce energy use. The City of Lakes Community Land Trust would own and lease the land to townhome owners to keep the homes affordable to initial and subsequent owners. The design of the townhomes would reduce the carbon footprint and decrease utility costs for residents.
965 Payne Ave./Inclusive Design Center, Saint Paul: $207,900 to support development of 965 Payne Avenue into a multipurpose commercial and community hub. The center would be the headquarters for a consulting business and national center for inclusive design. The building would house other businesses that enhance lives in the local community and promote growth and vitality in the corridor.
Projects awarded Livable Communities policy development grants
Mahtomedi Sustainability Policies: $44,000 to help the city implement its Sustainability Plan to improve its ecological health by reducing energy use, vehicle miles traveled, and the amount of waste generated, as well as increase community involvement.
Minnetonka Policy Grant: $50,000 to support the city’s update of its zoning code to reduce auto dependency, ensure intensive and transit-oriented land use, and include resiliency and sustainability components in its comprehensive plan to better address climate impacts. The update will allow for increased density and removes barriers to new affordable housing.
Livable Communities program promotes prosperity and economic development
Livable Communities grants support local initiatives to enhance economic opportunity, increase housing choice, improve connections, and realize more equitable development outcomes. The Met Council has been making Livable Communities grants to local jurisdictions in the seven-county metro area since 1995.
To be eligible and compete for Livable Communities funding, metro area cities must participate in the Livable Communities program, which provides grants for:
- Affordable housing
- Development that promotes mixed-use and connected land uses linking housing, jobs, and services
- Brownfield or polluted-site cleanup
- Transit-oriented development
75 cities and 1 township are participating in the Livable Communities program in 2022.