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City approves loan program for businesses near 38th and Chicago

Applications will open next week.

The Minneapolis City Council approved a new loan program Friday aimed at helping business owners at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, otherwise known as George Floyd Square.

The George Floyd Square/38th and Chicago Forgivable Loan program will grant small businesses in the area $50,000 loans at 0% interest. If the businesses remain open a year after taking the loan, the loan will be forgiven.

The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where George Floyd died in police custody on May 25, now serves as a memorial and community space. The intersection has been barricaded off to traffic since Floyd’s killing, though there are maneuvers underway by city leaders to open it back up after recent reports of crime in the area.

Eligible businesses will be within the boundaries of what has become known as George Floyd Square, or 37th Street East to the north, 39th East Street to the south, Columbus Avenue South to the west, and Elliot Avenue to the east.

Business tenants and commercial property owners are eligible for the loans. Businesses need to have been open in the area as of March 30. 

The City of Minneapolis estimates that the number of eligible businesses in the area could mean up to $1 million in loans.

A GoFundMe created to support Black business owners in the area described a lack of traffic and a rise in crime near the intersection, making it difficult for businesses to stay afloat. The fundraiser, which has raised around $10,400 of its $400,000 goal, stated revenue for businesses in the area was down 75%. 

Last month, Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo called for the reopening of 38th and Chicago, though the City has stated that will not happen until the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin concludes.

The City also plans to maintain the memorial after the intersection reopens, and will release applications for the program next week.

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