FEMA denies aid to Twin Cities, Lake Street business corridor seeks state help

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Minneapolis needs more than a half-billion dollars to rebuild portions of the Lake Street business corridor and the Minnesota Legislature’s special session might be its last hope of getting a large infusion of money.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency turned down Governor Tim Walz’s request for financial help on July 2 and the city of Minneapolis has its own budget deficit that won’t allow a huge transfer of money into the Lake Street business corridor.

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Lake Street Council Executive Director Allison Sharkey told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the FEMA denial was "extremely disappointing," but her group remains steadfast in its goal to rebuild Minneapolis.

"We have been talking with state lawmakers and are hoping they can come together," said Sharkey. "We hope they decide that businesses really need funding and need some support in order to be able to reopen."

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Sharkey said, so far, private donations to the nonprofit "We Love Lake Street" have reached $9 million and $3 million has already been given to some small businesses.

"And, 40 percent of those businesses, more than 200 have been able to reopen," said Sharkey. "But, we still have 60 percent who need help and they are going to use some free construction help that we’re providing and they are doing everything they can to reopen."

Minneapolis City Council member Linea Palmisano chairs the council’s Budget Committee, and she told KSTP the legislative special session is the key to helping the Lake Street corridor now that FEMA has denied the request.

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"If the state does not come through with the money, about $300 million I think, then it is troublesome," said Palmisano. "Then, the most rapid work we’ll be able to do with all this rebuilding that is needed is going to have to be done through private donations."

Sharkey said the estimated time frame to fix and rebuild the portions of Minneapolis that were destroyed is anywhere between three to five years.