Business owners and community groups refine state aid requests for properties damaged in riots

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After rioters burned down the former Odd Fellows Club office building on Minneapolis’ Lake Street in May, owner Ade Alabi paid $75,000 to demolish the remains of the structure. But now contractors are asking for $300,000 to $400,000 to remove debris from the site.During a virtual “rebuilding roundtable” discussion with Minneapolis and St. Paul community group leaders and small business owners on Wednesday, Alabi said he has insurance, but it won’t cover the costs of building a new office building at the location.
Like other business owners in Twin Cities corridors damaged or destroyed in the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd while in police custody May 25, Alabi needs help to recover. And roundtable participants are asking the Minnesota Legislature for that help.
That request isn’t new. The affected business owners and community groups first sought state aid more than four months ago. Lawmakers proposed riot-relief packages, but they didn’t pass any of them in four special sessions since June.
But there’s still a flicker of hope. During the roundtable discussion, which included a bipartisan group of lawmakers, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, told participants that legislators are still “trying to get money …

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