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Businesses burned in Floyd upheaval weigh next steps

ST. PAUL — Charred piles of rubble remain in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood where rioters torched businesses following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Buildings that were set on fire have been razed by the city using emergency funds. Now, the owners of the burned businesses are struggling to get back on their feet as they weigh what to do with the debris and decide whether they’ll rebuild.

Jim Stages lost his 100-year-old pharmacy business and got authorization from the city last week to start clearing the rubble. But, Ramsey County put a halt to the removal when it learned the original contractor didn’t have the proper credentials to demolish a building with asbestos.

The new contractor will cost Stages around $60,000, and won’t be covered by his insurance, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

City spokeswoman Suzanne Donovan says officials have reached out to the businesses knowing that because of the coronavirus pandemic, they made need more time to make decisions on what’s next.

“The Department of Security and Inspections and the Department of Planning and Economic Development have been reaching out to businesses to talk one-on-one,” Donovan said. “The city has been very sensitive to their individual processes.”

Besides Lloyd’s Pharmacy, other businesses that were destroyed or heavily damaged include Enterprise, NAPA, Subway, Boost Mobile, Sports Dome and Speedway.

Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man died on Memorial Day after he was arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill and held face down in the street with his hands handcuffed behind his back and with the knee of a white officer on his neck until he became unresponsive. His death touched off protests, peaceful and violent, not only in the Twin Cities but around the world.

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