By Caroline Wigmore
WINSTED, MAYER, MN - “We need to get more people into the downtown,” Brent Mareck, Winsted city administrator said.
Both Winsted and Mayer have made great strides toward increasing the appeal and vitality of their downtown business areas, and their most recent effort takes the form of a small-town grant, which the cities filed for jointly.
If the cities are approved for the grant, businesses that have contacted their respective city halls and expressed interest in the grant in the form of a letter, will be eligible to receive grant money or loans for the improvement on their buildings.
“It’s about being sort of a one-stop shop,” Mareck said. “It’s about being able to get your prescription drugs, a cheeseburger, something from the hardware store, or stop at the bank,” Mareck added, explaining how one business affects the success of another. “We want to keep all these services,” he added.
“We’ve applied for the grant for three years now,” Luyan Murphy, Mayer city administrator said, explaining that the city has yet to receive the grant money.
Watertown successfully received the grant in recent years, which allowed the city to do a big downtown rehabilitation project.
“It would be so great if we could get the grant,” Katy Born, manager of Winsted Hardware said. Winsted Hardware is one of the businesses that jumped at the chance to be included on the grant.
The plan for Winsted Hardware would be to remove the facade from the front of the building and restore the store-front to more of its original look in the early 1900s, with windows and brick walls, according to owner Greg Gehrman.
“It’s not too late for businesses to submit a letter of interest,” Shannon Sweeney of David Drown Associates said. Sweeney works with cities in financial and economic development and is preparing the grant application.
Sweeney suggested that businesses interested in the grant should call the city hall office in their respective cities.