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Anonymous donors create small business relief grant to help struggling downtown Rochester businesses

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Businesses in downtown Rochester have had their fair share of trials and tribulations this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic forcing some to shut their doors.

But businesses were also dealt another tough hand after re-opening, with construction closed major roadways downtown.

While help has been around, a special group of donors are stepping up in a big way.

Rochester Downtown Alliance Executive Director Holly Masek

Rochester Downtown Alliance Executive Director Holly Masek said this good news could help downtown businesses.

"We have a wonderful group of private financial and in-kind donors who recognize downtown as being very important to the overall success of Rochester," Masek said.

A group of donors who want to remain anonymous have created a grant fund up to $1 million.

"Business that are in our special service district boundaries downtown may apply for it," Masek said. "You must be a non-hotel hospitality business so that's retail, restaurants or event venues looking for people who contribute a lot to the vitality and vibrancy of downtown but we are also quite impacted by government regulations related to COVID-19."

Masek is hopeful this relief will help out business owners and continue to keep the special service district area vibrant.

As the cooler temps begin to kick in, Masek says she encourages people to continue to support local business and for owners to seek help if they need it.

"We think downtown has momentum, but we know people need help to bridge them through this difficult time. So we want to offer that help to them," Masek said.

The first part of the application window is now open and will close this Friday.

Masek says they hope to give away the awards by early October.

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Ubah Ali

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