A new initiative called Broadway Beautiful 2.0 is hoping to revitalize the West Broadway area in north Minneapolis.
Businesses on the corridor can apply for up to $ 40,000 in grant money to help beautify their buildings and make safety improvements.
“The revitalization they are trying to bring is something we are really looking forward to,” said Chidi Egbujor, owner of a building on West Broadway Avenue that houses a hair-braiding parlor and two apartments.
Egbujor said the area has struggled for many years but suffered even greater devastation during the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. The cafe and hair salon right next to his building were among many that burned to the ground and never came back .
“Look at this wall. It’s an eyesore, ”Egbujor said, while showing 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS around his property. “I had a lot of smoke and water damage. We didn’t want people inhaling the smoke in the building so that it took a little bit of time to reopen and we lost money as well. ”
Broadway Beautiful 2.0 hopes to provide up to 20 local businesses with money to make much-needed improvements, as part of a new campaign spearheaded by the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.
“West Broadway has always been overlooked,” said Julia Moturi, communications specialist for the West Broadway Coalition. “We want to allow people to rebuild after such a tumultuous time.”
She said about $ 3.2 million was received by The Minneapolis Foundation on behalf of the #RestoreNorth effort, with about $ 2.45 million coming from individuals and $ 750,000 donated by foundations, companies, churches, nonprofits and various organizations.
Some of that money is now becoming available to businesses through beautification grants.
“Our goal is just to provide the funding and resources but nonetheless to put the power in the community’s hands to say, ‘This is what we want to see,” Moturi said. “We’re really doing everything we can to make sure we are revitalizing the corridor in any way, so people feel like this is a place where they can eat, shop and interact.”
Egbujor said he plans to apply for the grant money and, if it is awarded to him, he would use it to resurface his exterior with brick and add new windows.
“We look forward to the uplifts for Broadway,” Egbujor said.