Tonawanda News

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May 7, 2014

Oliver Street money coming

Tonawanda News — The Lumber City Development Corporation has announced the availability of grant funds for current and potential small businesses in North Tonawanda with a target set on the downtown corridor of Webster and Oliver streets. 

Michael Zimmerman, LCDC planning and development coordinator, said his organization will use an application process to dole out $5,000 to $35,000 increments to business owners with five or fewer employees. In total, the city received $165,000 for the microenterprise grant, awarded through the New York State Office of Community Renewal. 

“We’d like to encourage as many new start-up businesses as possible,” he said. 

Zimmerman said the LCDC will oversee applications for the funding on behalf of the city. Business must provide a minimum of 10 percent cash equity to purchase items like furnishings, fixtures, equipment, machinery or working capital for training courses and product expansion. The prospective businesses must also show evidence that the funding would create additional jobs, with the terms of the grant requiring more than half of those jobs must be made available to low- or moderate-income employees. 

“It’s a grant that can go to businesses for expenses as long as they’re going to see some job creation,” Zimmerman said. “It’s for very small business and for jobs. It’s meant to support entrepreneurs and start-up businesses that show potential for job growth.” 

The funding, however, cannot be used for salaries or construction work, with an emphasis instead on showing a positive impact on North Tonawanda’s economy and community development efforts, Zimmerman said, including long-term growth. 

He noted that businesses located outside of the downtown corridor may apply for funding, though they would need to show higher impacts on job creation and investment. The funding would also be allotted after respective entrepreneurs spent their own money on various projects. 

“It’s a reimbursement grant process,” he said. “It’s not upfront cash. They have to spend the money and we have to reimburse.”

For more information or to apply for funding call the LCDC at 695-8580. 

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