State officials have launched an effort to encourage local businesses to move into vacant commercial locations in downtown areas.

The Wisconsin Tomorrow-Main Street Bounceback Grant Program is a $50 million program that offers $10,000 grants to businesses moving into vacant space. The program, which Gov. Tony Evers announced in April, receives funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“The intention is to really help jump-start getting our main streets filled back up,” said Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. secretary and CEO.

“If you have one store that has incredibly survived the last 18 months, they need neighbors,” she said. “They want people to stroll down the street and have a couple different places to stop in.”

To be eligible for the grants, businesses must be moving into a vacant commercial property or have moved into a vacant commercial property since Jan. 1 of this year, without closing another Wisconsin location to do so.

Interested applicants can get more information through the WEDC's websit