1 April 2022
St. Paul’s Neighborhood STAR program is accepting applications for 2022, the city announced Friday.
The program, funded by an additional citywide half-cent sales tax approved by the Legislature in 1993, makes loans and grants available to St. Paul capital improvement projects meant to further residential, economic and commercial development in the capital city. St. Paul also has a Cultural STAR program, for which is also currently taking applications.
All public, private, non-profit or for-profit entities located or doing business in Saint Paul are eligible to apply. Completed applications must be submitted by Wednesday, May 11 at 4 p.m.
Eligible projects include rehabilitation and/or construction of commercial, residential or industrial property. Those can include interior and exterior improvements, beautification of public or private open space, including trees and shrubs, rain gardens, benches, bicycle parking, lighting and public art.
A full list of guidelines is available on the city of St. Paul website.
Last year, 24 proposals received loans and/or grants from the fund. A 21-member board, appointed by the mayor, made recommendations to Mayor Melvin Carter and the City Council. Seventy-four proposals were submitted, said Crystal King, a spokeswoman for the program.
Award recipients in 2021 included the Victoria Theater Arts Center — an old silent movie theater on University Avenue that received a $100,000 grant — and the Lower Phalen Creek Project, which received a $100,000 grant and a $100,000 loan to help create a Dakota environmental and cultural interpretive center at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.
Not all awards went to big projects.
A project to transform the old Cozy Cantina, a troubled neighborhood bar that was shut down, into Papa Legba’s Lounge received a $25,000 grant and a $25,000 loan to paint, renovate and install an awning.
Beautiful Laundrette received a $7,000 grant and a $7,000 loan to plant shade trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as install a rain garden and a sculpture.
A STAR workshop is held at the beginning of each funding cycle to give information to prospective applicants. This year, an in-person workshop will be held on Friday, April 15, from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Wellstone Center, 179 E. Robie St. There is also a virtual Neighborhood STAR Workshop.