GARDNER- July 30, 2020- The City of Gardner has officially launched a new grant opportunity to help small businesses who were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Earlier this month, $400,000 was awarded to the City through our Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to assist Gardner microenterprise businesses adversely impacted by Covid-19. Microenterprise businesses are those employing 5 or fewer employees and serving low-to-moderate income clientele throughout the community. The award is funded through the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG Program) with funds allocated through Federal CARES Act in response to Covid-19.
According to the Baker-Polito Administration, $19.6 million was awarded to 174 of the Commonwealth’s 351 communities to address substantial needs in low and moderate-income communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In many communities, including Gardner, funds were awarded to specifically assist microenterprise small businesses with five or fewer employees. The $400,000 amount that was awarded to the City was also the maximum amount that cities and towns were eligible to receive.
“During my campaign for Mayor I outlined a plan to assist local businesses impacted by the adverse economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. I shared a plan that would utilize CDBG program funds to help businesses sustain and recover from the current situation,” said Mayor Mike Nicholson. “I have previously said that developing a City Covid-19 Business Assistance Program through CDBG grant funds and other available sources of funding would be the first step along the path to full economic recovery for the city, and, I am pleased to say that we will now be taking that important stride forward.”
Since the pandemic began, the City of Gardner has been working diligently to gather information from local businesses related to the impacts of Covid-19. A Covid-19 Business Impact Survey was created to gather this critical information from our business community. Staff in the Department of Community Development and Planning have used information form this survey develop a microenterprise assistance program and apply for funding to provide financial relief to the most at-risk businesses in our community.
The City will begin the process of making these funds available to eligible microenterprise businesses located within Gardner and providing goods and services to all residents throughout the community. Gardner Economic Development Coordinator Maribel Cruz and Assistant Director of Community Development and Planning Jeff Legros will begin working to notify our local businesses of the opportunity and application process. The information will also be posted publicly through the Gardner News, City website, and the City’s social media accounts.
“I would like to thank the Baker-Polito administration for awarding these funds and making this investment in the economy and business community of Gardner,” concluded Mayor Nicholson. “This has been a trying time for businesses and no one can predict how long this recovery will take, but I am confident that with strong partnerships and community support, our businesses and our City will recover from this pandemic and resume the path toward a stronger, more vibrant, and resilient business community within the City of Gardner. “
Information on this program can be found on the City’s Microenterprise Assistance Program website including the City’s virtual press conference featuring several community partners and their thoughts on the program.