Links are still one of the largest ranking factors in Google’s algorithm (both in organic ranking and in Google Maps). In fact, building local links is especially important if you want to rank in Google Maps.
It’s true that any link that isn’t marked as no follow will pass “authority”, which will likely help with rankings. However, local links are especially important because they have a much higher probability of driving actual business.
For the highest success rate, start with businesses that you already have a relationship with or know well. You could offer to write or record a testimonial in exchange for a link, or perhaps you could co-create a piece of content that benefits both of your audiences.