The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is offering communities across the state a second chance at millions of dollars to fund local projects.

St. Paul wants a new $27 million ballpark for its minor league team. Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud wanted new civil centers. Regional chambers of commerce wanted a new Southwest rail corridor. All left the Legislature disappointed this year, when their projects were cut from the $496 million bonding bill.

But lawmakers did offer one consolation prize: a $47.5 million pot of capital improvement funds given to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. On Thursday afternoon, DEED opened the application process for the grants.

The newly established Business Development Through Capital Projects grant program will allow communities to compete for grants that would fund up to 50 percent of the cost of their proposed projects. To qualify, the projects have to meet the 11-point eligibility criteria outlined by lawmakers, including requirements that the project be shovel-ready, be capable of drawing out-of-state money and be supported by local government.

The deadline to apply for the grants is 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26. DEED expets to award the grants in early August.
 

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