The City of Delaware has created a small business grant program to assist local businesses financially in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and flooding that took place in May. Delaware City Council unanimously approved the program, which will be backed by $150,000 from the city’s Development Reserve Fund.
Council discussed the grant program during its May 26 meeting, and in anticipation of the program’s approval on Monday, began accepting grant applications on June 1. Businesses can apply for loans up to $2,500, although special considerations may be considered for grants up to $5,000.
“(The program) is really targeted towards small businesses, businesses with 30 employees or less,” Assistant City Manager Kyle Kridler said in May. “We feel that it will be a good opportunity to get this money in the hands of our Main Street businesses and other small businesses that have been impacted in relatively short order.”
Among the criteria being considered for the grants are whether or not a business has demonstrated hardship as a result of COVID-19 and/or flooding; the business has thoughtfully considered how grant funding will improve its situation; if a grant award will sustain the business into the future; whether or not the business has received or attempted to receive additional relief funding; if the loss of the business will negatively impact the community; and whether or not the business supports community organizations and/or philanthropic activities.
As part of the application process, businesses will need to submit receipts for expenses directly related to the pandemic or flooding.
Applications are being considered by the city’s grant review team, which is comprised of Kridler, Economic Development Director Sean Hughes, Finance Director Justin Navi, and Mayor Carolyn Riggle. During Monday’s meeting, Riggle, who does not vote on the grant applications, designated Councilman Drew Farrell to act in her place should she be unable to participate in the reviews.
Kridler said that as of Monday morning, the grant program had received 18 applications from businesses. He said the businesses that have applied for assistance range from restaurants and breweries to retail, fitness, and more.
“We anticipate additional applications coming in this week,” Kridler said. “As everyone knows, restaurants and businesses have been very busy just getting back on their feet.”
Riggle suggested extending the deadline date for applications, which is Thursday, June 18, because some businesses won’t have the invoices pertaining to the work they’ve had done over the past two weeks due to flooding.
Asked by Councilwoman Lisa Keller if he anticipates all the money set aside for the program being granted, Kridler said he is hopeful that if the deadline is extended until the end of June, the applications would take up the full amount. He said the majority of the applications have been requesting grants at the $2,500 mark, although he added there has been “a couple” requesting $5,000.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.