(Willmar MN-) A newly-created downtown Willmar mall is the only outstate recipient of dollars under a state grant program for cultural malls. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Tuesday announced recipients of the $3 million Minnesota Cultural Mall Operator Grants program, which was part of the $70 million Main Street COVID Relief Grant package that passed with bipartisan support in the Minnesota Legislature during the 2021 Session and was signed into law by Governor Tim Walz.

Grants ranging from $20,000 to $300,000 will be awarded to 12 cultural mall operators across Minnesota, whose facilities lease space to a combined total of over 1,178 Black, Indigenous and People of Color business owners.

“Cultural malls are incredible economic, cultural, and civic cornerstones of their communities – and they were significantly impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. "These grants will provide much needed help to these malls and their communities, allowing them to maintain or grow jobs at a key inflection point in Minnesota’s economy.”

Midtown Plaza, owned by New Minnesotan Realty, LLC., is in the former Erickson's Furniture Building in Willmar and was awarded $80,000.