FEDA loan program expands

FAIRMONT– On Monday the Fairmont Economic Development Authority considered modification of CARES Act guidelines.

In March of 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was signed into law. As a result, FEDA received $610,000 in revolving loan funds to help local small businesses, non-profits and individuals. The deadline to spend the money is July 2022.

“We still have over $200,000 left to spend,” said Linsey Preuss, Fairmont Economic Development Coordinator.

She said they started giving a $25,000 max loan, but said since the deadline is drawing near, she thought this could be a good time to increase it to $75,000.

“I’ve noticed some local restaurants closing again. I don’t know if that’s because of staffing shortages due to Covid or just Covid exposures,” Preuss said.

She recommended the board increase the total investment amount and make it a total of $75,000 so business that have received the first $25,000 can receive an additional $50,000.

So far 15 local businesses have applied for and received the loan. Preuss said she’s been working with local banks to help get the word out about the loans.

Board member Aaron Speltz said if there’s only $200,000 left and $25,000 is the minimum, that’s not a lot for all of Martin County, given there’s a big interest in it.

Preuss said she’s open to other ideas. Speltz suggested they start at $25,000 and see how many applications they get.

The board voted to approve the increase to $75,000 and re-visit it in March.

Moving to other matters, the board discussed potential further development of the White Tail Ridge lots. At the November meeting, the board had approved Preuss to draft a Request for Proposal to develop eight residential lots.

On Monday, Preuss shared some information that she had prepared to include in the RFPs.

“The project they’re proposing has to be similar to others in the neighborhood. We don’t want them to come in and build a huge apartment complex. Something simple, single family, twin homes is what we’re looking for,” Preuss said.

Preuss said she also talked to the school district, as the agreement is the district gets $10,000 for each lot sold. FEDA would have to give the district $80,000 but Preuss asked if the district would be willing to negotiate that price.

“They wanted more information about what this project would look like,” Preuss said.

Speltz asked if the district can hold the property back. Preuss said FEDA owns the property so would either have to pay $80,000 or negotiate them down.

The board made a motion to approve Preuss to release the RFP.

In other action:

— The board voted to contribute $1,500 to support the Area Career Exploration.


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