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CRG linking impacted businesses with SBA

GLOVERSVILLE — The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth Board of Directors on Friday was briefed on the agency’s efforts to support local businesses and communities remotely during a meeting conducted by teleconference during continuing restrictions on businesses and gatherings meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

With non-essential businesses forced to temporarily shut their physical locations and restaurants forced to suspend dine-in services until at least April 15 under an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, CRG Economic Development Specialist Ken Adamczyk has focused on linking local proprietors to information on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Disaster Loan Program.

“Things are slow right now, people are trying to figure out things at their businesses and how to make ends meet,” explained Adamczyk of his shift in focus from typical marketing strategies for the CRG to a push out information on SBA loans.

The CRG website and Facebook page currently feature details on available SBA loan programs and links to program sites to access additional information or submit an application.

“We tried to make everything very clear and visual so people wouldn’t have to look around,” said Adamczyk.

The SBA Economic Disaster Loan Program offers assistance in the form of low-interest loans in regions affected by declared disasters. A Major Disaster Declaration was issued for New York state by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on March 20 in response to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

SBA Economic Disaster Loans are currently available for small businesses and private non-profit organizations facing temporary revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus and restrictions meant to limit its spread. Loans of up to $2 million are available to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills at an interest rate of 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis of up to a maximum of 30 years.

“We’re making every effort to get our local businesses through these tough times,” said CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters. “We’re there to assist any way we can.”

Peters and CRG staff are currently making early preparations to identify possible projects throughout Fulton County for submission of consolidated funding applications through the Regional Economic Development Councils.

It is currently unclear how the coronavirus outbreak and related losses in tax revenue will affect the state budget that is due on Wednesday. New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for quarterly budget adjustments based on actual revenues as they come in over the next year to balance a state budget that will feature drastic cuts from spending proposals that were presented earlier this year.

Peters acknowledged that local leaders must wait and see what the future holds, while setting a goal of submitting 10 consolidated funding applications in the event funding awards originally anticipated this year are made available through the REDC.

Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist James Hannahs is also working with city officials to identify potential projects for an application for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant award through the REDC.

Cuomo originally proposed funding a fifth round of the DRI program in his Executive Budget. The program invests $10 million each into 10 downtown neighborhoods across the state. One downtown from each region of the state is selected to receive the award based on the city’s submitted strategic investment and implementation plan for the funds and the plan’s potential to advance the community’s revitalization.

“We have not gotten any indication there will not be DRI,” said Hannahs. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

“Going forward we want to make sure we’re ready,” he added.

Amid continuing uncertainty over the impacts of the coronavirus and when related restrictions will be lifted, Hannahs announced the Placemaking 101 Conference, Placemaking in Gloversville Dinner and 100 in 1 Day scheduled for the end of next month will be postponed until mid-June.

Hannahs has been working with former Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings to organize the biannual Placemaking 101 Conference and annual Placemaking Dinner since the beginning of the year.

The two-day conference serves as an introduction to placemaking featuring discussions and presentations from nationally recognized placemaking experts and local residents implementing placemaking practices by working to impact their community through small, cost effective projects and events that connect people with their built environment and its potential in order to catalyze lasting change over time.

The first conference held in 2018 was capped off by a dinner reception that became a yearly event bringing area residents together to form connections and discuss new and ongoing revitalization efforts.

Both events were set to return this year on April 29 and 30 as part of a week of placemaking leading up to the second annual 100 in 1 Day on May 2. The event asks residents to do roughly 100 small positive acts of service in the city on a single day to inspire the community at large to continue taking positive actions the rest of the year. Gloversville was the first community in the nation to participate in the global program in 2019.

Last year’s event saw community members cleaning up parks and public spaces, planting flowers and trees, collecting donations for local food pantries, handing out water and coffee to volunteers, teaching a new craft, providing free concerts and more.

New dates for the Placemaking 101 Conference are set for June 17 and 18 with the Placemaking Dinner to be held on the second night leading up to 100 in 1 Day on June 20. Hannahs pointed to the rescheduled events as presenting locals a silver lining to look forward to.

“I think it will be a really good time,” said Hannahs.

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