The city of Grandview is accepting grant applications for new, relocating or expanding small businesses.
The city hopes to allocate five $10,000 grants as part of a bigger strategy to support the local economy. The funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is intended to encourage businesses to make their home in the city of about 11,000.
The city distributed $385,000 in grant funding to existing businesses last year.
City Council member Robert Ozuna, who is on Grandview’s ARPA committee, said these grants are strictly focused on independent, small businesses. The funds are not for franchises. Applicants must have fewer than 30 employees. They must also be brick and mortar businesses; the program is meant to bring businesses into Grandview’s downtown area.
“What we’re trying to do is revitalize downtown,” Ozuna said. “Those who will qualify will get $10,000.”
Start-up businesses, small businesses that want to move their operations to Grandview or small businesses that are seeking to open a second location in Grandview are all qualified to apply. They must send applications to Grandview Treasurer Matt Cordray.
Successful applicants will go through an interview process with a committee of City Council members and staff -- a different one than the ARPA committee -- in which they will offer proof that they have the financial stability, a proposed location and strategic plan for their business. That committee will make recommendations to City Council, which will make the final decision.
Businesses that receive the grant are then required to get a business license within 30 days, open within three months and operate for at least a year. The $10,000 would be distributed throughout the year based on the needs of the business owner.
ARPA funds were distributed to regional and local governments across the country to help communities recover from the pandemic. The city is seeking to maximize the impact of this one-time source of federal funding.
“We’re trying to get the most impact for the long term,” Ozuna said.
Surveys help chart course
Grandview has focused roughly 25% of its pandemic-related aid on revitalizing its downtown core. City officials contracted with the BERK group, a Seattle-based consulting firm, to conduct a survey for businesses and another for community members in 2021.
A total of 55 businesses and 538 residents — about 7% of Grandview’s population— responded. The survey notes that youths under the age of 18 and Spanish speakers were underrepresented in the community member survey.
That provided a scientific basis for policy, said City Administrator Cus Arteaga. One of the priorities the city got from the survey was bringing in new businesses and improving current business’ storefronts. Others included activities for youths — which Arteaga said the city is engaging in with summer programs and a splash pad — and opportunities for workers to develop more skills.
Grandview distributed small-business grants for the first time near the end of 2022, when 62 existing local establishments received $5,000 to $10,000 to offset the impacts of COVID-19.
Arteaga said there are several reasons the city has its eye on new and existing local businesses. One is increased traffic. Arteaga expects 1,300 new houses to be built in Grandview this year, increasing the customer base for businesses. He also hopes that successful businesses will attract more customers and therefore help surrounding businesses.
“The housing boom that we have right now means more traffic,” Arteaga said. “If you bring in one business that’s successful, it increases traffic.”
Growing business in Grandview should increase the city’s property and sales tax revenue in the long run, allowing the city to provide sustainable services in the future.
“In a lot of communities, you have the core of downtown businesses,” he said. “That’s revenue. That’s a tax base.”
Grandview still has roughly $1 million in ARPA funds to allocate. Those funds must be budgeted by 2024 and used by 2026, said Cordray, the city’s treasurer. Ozuna said it’s possible, depending on the level of interest, that more grants for new businesses may be provided.
For now, the five grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants can email email@example.com to begin the application process.
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