Business Resources Collaborative
The Green Line is home to hundreds of small businesses along University and Washington Avenues. A goal of all stakeholders was to ensure that the Green Line construction’s impact on these businesses would be minimized.
Having just emerged from the Great Recession, many businesses were already under some stress when construction began in 2010. Construction challenged businesses with reduced access to storefronts, parking and traffic changes, and customers’ unwillingness to navigate torn up streets and sidewalks.
The Business Resources Collaborative (BRC) was created to support businesses and property owners through this time of challenge, while helping them transition to a changing market post-LRT operation. The BRC was a partnership of business coalitions, nonprofit community developers and local and regional governments that coordinated the delivery of a comprehensive, integrated mix of services to support area businesses and property owners before, during, and after LRT construction.
Their work focused on:
- Construction Mitigation to eliminate or reduce construction-related impediments that may cause disruption to the financial performance of businesses.
- Business Development to strengthen the ability of existing businesses to proactively prepare and effectively manage adverse conditions that may occur during periods of construction and beneficial opportunities that may arise after construction is completed.
- Economic Development to maximize the economic opportunity and job growth potential, and thereby the community benefit of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line.
Partners in this effort included:
- Christopher Ferguson, Stadium Village Business Association, BRC Chair
- Hussein Farah, African Development Center
- Va-Megn Thoj, Asian Economic Development Association
- Kristin Guild and Emily Stern, City of Minneapolis
- Nancy Homans and Ellen Muller, City of Saint Paul
- Jim Roth, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers
- Robin Caufman, Metropolitan Council Central Corridor LRT Office
- Kari Canfield, Midway Area Chamber of Commerce
- Mihailo Temali and Isabel Chanslor, Neighborhood Development Center
- Zach Schwartz, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
- Michael McLaughlin, Southeast Business Association
- Larry Peterson, University Avenue Business Association
Post construction, the Funders Collaborative has supported small businesses through investments in a façade/building exterior improvements program administered by the Neighborhood Development Center as well as working with business and neighborhood associations to strengthen their cultural nodes for economic development.
In July 2010, the BRC launched its Strategic Work Plan for promoting construction mitigation, business development, and economic development by providing information, tools, training and assistance to encourage businesses to prepare for and survive construction and be in a position to thrive once the line began operation.