The Potluck

Hennepin County Board starts spending federal money; libraries reopening

By: - June 24, 2020 1:00 am

Minneapolis Central Library.

Commissioners on the Hennepin County Board voted to spend some funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, part of which it has already devoted to emergency housing relief and small business assistance.

The board voted to spend:

  • $2 million to feed the hungry. Any of the roughly 150 distribution sites in the county can apply for grants of $7,000 to $50,000, depending on their size.
  • $2 million on summer youth programs and organized youth sports, in addition to $1 million previously allocated.
  • $900,000 to support small businesses’ relief and recovery.
  • $3 million to implement public health measures at its service centers and increase staff to deal with a backlog caused by COVID-19. The service centers were shut down for nine weeks and have begun reopening in phases.
  • $2.5 million to provide educational services and support for Hennepin County youth affected by the pandemic.

All but nine libraries reopening

The board also approved a library reopening plan that drew some opposition.

Eight of the 41 county libraries opened for curbside services in mid-April, and 24 additional libraries will open in the coming weeks, but nine will not open in 2020. Closed libraries include East Lake, which was damaged during recent civil unrest after the Floyd killing.

Golden Valley, Linden Hills, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Osseo, Pierre Bottineau, Roosevelt and St. Bonifacius will also not reopen this year. 

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.