DEED distributes $13 million relief funds for convention centers, theaters

The bill represents a part of the $216 million economic relief packaged signed by Gov. Tim Walz last year.


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Monday, Feb. 8, awards of $4.6 million in Convention Center Relief Grants and $8.54 million in Movie Theater Relief Grants to facilities across the state.

Among area convention center awardees were the following locations:

  • Northern Pacific Center, Brainerd – $109,000.

  • Range Recreation and Civic Center, Eveleth – $105,000.

  • Sanford Center, Bemidji – $305,000.

  • St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud – $300,000.

Among area entertainment outlets that received grants were the following entities:

  • Brainerd Entertainment LLC – $280,000. According to filings with the Minnesota Secretary of State, Brainerd Entertainment LLC operates out of Bloomington and is owned by Stephen Mann.

  • Mann Theatres Inc, which includes Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter, $330,000.

  • Bear Pause Inc. $50,000, Hackensack.

  • Grand Cinema Entertainment LLC, $70,000, Hinckley.

These grants were part of a $216 million economic relief package signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz Dec. 16. This package included a $14 million appropriation for grants to movie theaters and convention centers in Minnesota impacted by COVID-19.
“Convention centers and movie theatres are an important part of our economy that has been severely impacted by COVID-19,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove stated in a news release. “The state and our team at DEED have worked hard to award these grants quickly to help these venues weather the pandemic and bounce back during Minnesota’s economic recovery.”

Fifteen convention centers meeting the eligibility requirements were awarded grants ranging from $38,000 to $500,000. Of these, eight are located in Greater Minnesota and received a total of $2.3 million in grants; seven are in the Twin Cities and received $2.2 million.


Seventy-three movie theater owners — with a total of 790 screens in 118 locations across the state – met the eligibility requirements and were awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $1.12 million. Of these, 78 locations are in Greater Minnesota and received a total of $4.7 million; 40 locations are in the Twin Cities and received $3.83 million. Awardees must spend the entire award on theaters located in Minnesota, and the formula for award amounts was established in statute.

The eligibility requirements for both of these programs were set in the bipartisan $216 million COVID-19 recovery package passed by the Legislature and signed by Walz in December last year. The other components of that package included $114 million which has been distributed to counties across Minnesota, and $88 million in direct payments to qualifying businesses that experienced a 30% drop in revenue, which were distributed by the U.S. Department of Revenue earlier this year.

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