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EDA working to develop guidelines for downtown rental subsidies

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 January 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency already has received several phone calls from businesses interested in the downtown rental subsidy program.

The agency is developing guidelines for the program and expects to have it ready by the end of the month, said Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the EDA.

The state approved $200,000 for the EDA last month in small business programs. The money comes from the federal government through the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation.

That includes $60,000 for downtown rental subsidies. The EDA wants to target start-ups or businesses doing expansions for the program. To be eligible, the businesses need to move into a downtown business district in one of the four villages.

The EDA ran a downtown subsidy program before and about $20,000 was directed to businesses in the four village downtowns. The EDA started that program in 2009 and offered a maximum of $3,000 a year to help small business owners with their rent if they locate in the Albion, Medina, Holley or Lyndonville business districts.

The EDA hasn’t settled on a maximum amount for each business in the program. The specifics of the downtown subsidy program are being developed.

The grant also includes $100,000 for microenterprise grants/low-interest loans. That money will be available to qualifying small business owners who complete the 10-week small business training program through the EDA. Barone said the qualifying criteria is being reviewed. When the details are finalized, the program will be presented to the public, she said.

More than 400 entrepreneurs have completed the Microenterprise Assistance Program since 1999. The 10-week program gives an overview on taxes, record keeping, marketing, organizational skills, accounting and insurance, leadership and assists participants in developing a business plan.

The $200,000 overall grant also includes $30,000 for program delivery costs and $10,000 for grant administration expenses.