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Gov. Evers announces additional $25 million investment into Main Street Bounceback Grant Program

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:23 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - State officials are trying to make downtown areas more vibrant across Wisconsin.

The Main Street Bounceback Program was established last year to give grants to small businesses that wished to move into vacant downtown storefronts.

$50 million from the American Rescue Plan Act was initially put into the program, and money was distributed through $10,000 grants.

WI Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes says the intent was to support businesses that made it through COVID’s hardships by building up the area surrounding them.

“They [businesses] came out of the pandemic and had empty storefronts on either side of them,” Hughes recalled. “It was really hard to imagine a car driving by and stopping when there was just one store there, so we wanted to fill those vacant spots.”

Looking back on the first year of the program, Gov. Tony Evers is pleased with what it’s accomplished.

“This program has succeeded in helping more than 4,200 businesses and nonprofits move into new spaces,” Evers detailed. “These businesses and nonprofits have created jobs, new opportunities, and revitalized downtowns in all 72 Wisconsin counties.”

Applications for the Main Street Bounceback grants were only to be accepted until the end of June, but a new injection of federal funding is keeping the program going.

While visiting La Crosse Tuesday morning, Evers announced an additional investment of $25 million to provide grants through the end of the year.

The new deadline for applications is Dec. 31, and grants will be disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“I’m confident that this funding is an investment that will pay off for our state because local businesses are more likely to get their supplies locally, hire locally, and give back to their own local community,” Evers expressed.

The WEDC is working with nine regional economic development organizations to quickly distribute the grants to eligible businesses and nonprofits.

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