TOWER— Grant funding from the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation should help participating small businesses here begin to recover from the impacts stemming from efforts to …
TOWER— Grant funding from the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation should help participating small businesses here begin to recover from the impacts stemming from efforts to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Tower Economic Development Authority applied for the funds as part of the newly-created Taconite Area Community Relief Program and was awarded $50,000 to provide low interest loans to assist businesses in the community. The IRRR issued a total of $2 million in grant funds to area cities and economic development authorities for the program.
TEDA is earmarking $12,500 of its own funds toward the effort, providing a total of $62,500 for loans under the program. TEDA was forced to trim the size of its request due to limited funds available for meeting the program’s 1:4 matching requirement. The city’s storefront loan account, which TEDA dedicated for its matching funds, was among a long list of city accounts that were drained by the prior city administration in order to pay the rising tab for city projects and operations.
The funds will be available for a wide range of uses by businesses, making it different from the commercial rehabilitation or storefront program, which was largely limited to facility improvements. Once the loan funds are distributed and repaid, they will become part of an revolving loan program managed by TEDA.
The program will require a 1:3 match from participating business, meaning that the business will need to provide at least one dollar in private investment for every three dollars in loan funding.
“We’re encouraging businesses in Tower to contact TEDA if they need assistance as they address the uncertainties posed by the current pandemic,” said TEDA executive director Marshall Helmberger.
As the Timberjay previously reported, the city of Ely received a $125,000 grant from the program. The city of Babbitt received $50,000.