Gov. Tim Walz is requesting a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help repair properties that sustained extensive damage in Minneapolis during civil unrest following George Floyd's killing in police custody.
Walz announced the request Monday, after meeting with business owners on Lake Street in Minneapolis, which sustained the largest extent of the damage. If approved, the disaster declaration could free up low-interest loans for property and business owners.
"While many areas suffered damage, Minneapolis bore the brunt of the destruction. Arson was used to wantonly destroy local businesses, public buildings and other property," Walz wrote in the letter.
The move comes weeks after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied a request from Walz for federal disaster aid to reimburse local governments as they begin to clear away rubble and rebuild structures.
Nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were damaged by vandalism, fire and looting, according to the city of Minneapolis. Estimates of damage exceed $500 million.
In a July 2 letter to FEMA, Walz said it was the second-most destructive incident of civil unrest in U.S. history, after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.
FEMA denied the request, which the state is in the process of appealing.
According to Walz's letter on Monday, a survey of damage verified that more than 25 homes or businesses in Hennepin County sustained "uninsured losses of more than 40% of their estimated fair market value," meeting the SBA's criteria for a disaster declaration.
"We need to work together to support Minnesotans who lost their homes and businesses to this destruction — that's why we've asked our federal partners to step in," Walz said in a statement.