Planning for a Thriving Northside
It is clear that we need to address our current economic situation. Economic improvement and stability has been, and continues to be a huge issue in North Minneapolis.
With you, I will help overcome our city’s history of choosing to divest and deprive us of our power, rights, and land by implementing policies to build a sustainable Northside economy for the benefit of our current and future community for generations to come.
Development without Displacement
The only way we can address this issue without displacing our most vulnerable community members, is to first build up our local northside businesses from within. After generations of racial covenants blocking black and indigenous communities to land equity and barricading the ability for northside businesses to access permits, licensing and capital, the city owes us BIG.
Currently, city planners and developers are saying we can't attract businesses without a higher AMI (Area Median Income) and I say, we can't increase our AMI without providing local living wage employment opportunities for our underserved, underrepresented, and under employed residents.
BUT I say,
By doing this, we will increase employment for our BIPOC residents, capture the dollars that are leaving our community, and attract patrons from outside of our communities.
We need to elect someone who knows how to do it RIGHT, without displacing the community.
We can create higher-density residential development in spaces surrounding business corridors with a mix of affordable and market rate.
We can provide real incentives to attract and support BIPOC entrepreneurs so they can start and maintain sustainable businesses.
Kristel Porter's 5 Year Economic Plan
As your City Council representative for Ward 5, my plan is to create a 5 year program that will aid new and existing businesses that are located along blighted commercial corridors. This will ensure economic sustainability, and will preserve our community’s rich and vibrant culture by eliminating displacement.
This program will include:
1. Grants to build-out business space
2. Employee wage subsidies to create living wage jobs
3. Marketing subsidies and support to boost patronage
4. Real business technical support while providing a temporary zero sales tax zone
5. Capital investment and support for business owners to purchase commercial property
6. Incentives for businesses who choose to hire residents from within their zip code
Supporting Local Northside Businesses
I am someone who has always had a close relationship with the businesses in my community. They all have my cell phone number and call me on a regular basis and I call to check up on them. I want them to be able to contact me directly especially if there is an emergency so that I can help them navigate out of a crisis or to remediate their situation in a timely manner.
Why are Most Northside Businesses Struggling
North Minneapolis has a very limited selection of small businesses. Many of them are struggling to stay open since they do not have the capital or capacity to market, hire staff, or take care of much needed improvements such as facade or building out their stores. The majority of these businesses do not own the buildings they are in, and the property owners have continued to abandon the needs of their renters. For instance, a Black business owner that has been located on West Broadway Ave N and Penn ave N for 15 years, has been dealing with the roof leaking on his merchandise, boarded up windows, and can not plug in an air conditioner due to electrical issues. He has attempted to contact his landlord several times and nothing has gotten better.
How I Plan to Support Future Local Businesses
I would push that we begin to invest into Business Technical Assistance programming and education for youth.
This program includes:
1. Teaching youth about differences between a Sole Proprietor, Individual Limited Liability Company, Trust, Partnership, S- Corporation, Non Profit, Personal Service Corporation, etc.
2. Providing resources to help youth begin the process to starting and running a business,
3. Demonstrating how to obtain an Employer Identification Number and how to register for a Federal Employer Identification Number as well as what is the best bank or credit union to open a business according to the type of business they conduct.
This program would help future business owners and develop the community without displacing by providing opportunities for our future generations.
YES AND, my goal is to set them up to be self-sufficient before they turn 18 years old.
How I Plan to Support Current Local Businesses
I feel that it is essential for CPED to establish a small business advisory group.
There will be a space for small businesses to provide feedback and input on any decisions that are traditionally being made for them and without their knowledge.
This would also provide the support they need to access programs and funding that are available to them through NRP, RFPs for city contracts, or resources like PPP loans and relief funding and how to navigate those processes.
Without having a small business advisory group that is intentional about aiding small business owners through difficult times as well as providing them consulting services on how to help their business not only sustain, but to thrive- we will only continue to see our small business sector flail in our city. It is common sense to have a group that solely focuses on the needs of the small business community. It will only prove to be a benefit and might ultimately end up being the city’s most viable asset.
How I Plan to Support Our Local BIPOC, Asian, LatinX and Women owned Businesses
Currently we are dealing with a situation in North Minneapolis that could have a huge negative impact on the small businesses on West Broadway Ave which are primarily Black, Asian, and Indigenoius. Currently, I am communicating with these businesses about a potential Light rail who have never heard that this discussion was even happening. Yet, there have been many meetings, which they were not invited to. Many times, I have packed up my laptop and mobile hotspot and brought them to the small businesses so that they could join these meetings via zoom. Some have no idea what questions to ask, or are too afraid to ask, so I have asked for them. No one has walked into their store, and offered them a flyer or talked to them about it, or invited them to attend any engagement meetings about this project.
In order to help our current and future BIPOC-owned local businesses, as city councilwoman, I plan to:
1. Include local businesses into important city projects by lobbying for community engagement meetings to meet the needs of our local business owners
2. Prioritize including local businesses and contractors, especially our BIPOC, LatinX, Asian, and women-owned businesses, on community projects to support building North Minneapolis from within instead of seeking outside businesses and contractors
3. Have the city acknowledge the history behind racial covenants, which prevented minorities from being able to purchase and own land, and remove them while also giving support to minorities who continue to be impacted by these racial covenants today
4. Support the Commericial Property Development Fund as long as buyers who are willing to take on the property with the knowledge of how much work it will take to fix it up still be considered qualified, especially if the buyer's interests are to increase the number of Minneapolis‐based businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and increase businesses with BIPOC ownership that are still in business after 5 years
5. Push the city to support the creation of business partnerships between newer BIPOC, immigrant, Asian, LatinX and women with those who have a proven track record of operating successful businesses
6. Provide funding for newer businesses owned by BIPOC, immigrant, Asian, LatinX and women to get access to the mentorships and the consulting they need to get established and a place to reach out to when they have questions
7. Be strategic in working with Community Development Corporations to acquire and allocate property and boarded up buildings and homes to be redeveloped as mixed use properties and resold to local BIPOC, Asian, LatinX and Women while working to position and prepare them for homeownership.