Minnesota Business Owners Ruined by Protests Plead for Rebuilding Help

February 18, 2021

Owners of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., businesses that were raided and burned during the violent protests over the death of George Floyd are appealing to state lawmakers for help with rebuilding.

Several store owners in Minneapolis and St. Paul told members of the House Capital Investment Committee about the need for a proposed $300 million borrowing package. The committee agreed to advance the plan to another panel.

Rob Yang owns Phenom, a footwear and apparel business with locations in both cities. He sustained $500,000 in losses from damage and stolen merchandise.

“I was no more than 15 feet away from the entrance where I would normally greet customers while complete strangers took their turns looting my American dream and 15 years of hard work,” Yang told lawmakers.

The bill would designate $200 million from the bond sale proceeds to Minneapolis redevelopment efforts and $100 million to St. Paul, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Some Republicans are leery of the amount of borrowing and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, of Gull Lake, said he is opposed to proposals that would have the cities manage the money.

“We have got to find a way for these small businesses that were destroyed that are asking for help,” Gazelka said. “I’m willing to find a way but it will not be through dollars through the city of Minneapolis that’s dysfunctional.”

The House bill requires at least two more committee stops before a possible floor vote.


Topics Minnesota

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