Red Wing leading in national grant contest with hours to go

The city of Red Wing is leading in a competition to win a $500,000 urban-revitalization grant from the Deluxe Corp.

Shoreview-based Deluxe is for the second year sponsoring a Small Business Revolution contest, with tens of thousands of nominated U.S. towns and cities vying for the cash. The contest got 14,000 nominations this year. Officials also went on an eight-town tour.

After narrowing this year’s entries to five finalists, Deluxe opened up the contest to online voting that will determine the winner.

Red Wing as of Wednesday afternoon was running first in the voting tally after overtaking Bristol Borough, Penn. The other finalists are Kingsburg, Calif.; North Adams, Mass.; and Georgetown, S.C. Late Wednesday, contest organizers announced voting would be extended until 11 p.m. CST today because of high last-minute interest.

In an entry video, Red Wing touts the dozens of manufacturers based in the city and a downtown business core made up mainly of small-business owners.

The famed Red Wing Shoe Company is shown prominently. So are lesser-known businesses such as Rivertown Comics & Games.

The video is candid about how the economic downturn years ago created a city crisis that is still, to a degree, being felt. The prize money, it says, will be key in an ongoing revitalization effort that will help determine the city’s long-term fate.

—Julio Ojeda-Zapata, St. Paul Pioneer Press Reporter