With assistance from a matching grant by Business Oregon, the City of Madras recently funded $30,000 in grant funding to businesses within the city limits. Approximately twelve businesses were awarded during this latest round of funding. The grant was administered by Central Oregon Intergovernmental Agency and was set up to assist businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. "To date, the City, along with the Madras Urban Renewal District, has funded nearly $257,000 to our local businesses," stated City Administrator Gus Burril. "For a community of our size, we believe that's been impactful and we've had positive feedback from our business community."
This grant program is just one of several ways the City has tried to help businesses during these difficult economic restrictions. The City pulled their proposed food and beverage tax measure from the May ballot, provided a three-month payment forgiveness to businesses with loans through the Redevelopment Commission, and provided assistance to retail businesses that would help them develop online marketplaces. In addition, the City partnered with the Chamber and the Madras Pioneer in funding full-page advertising for businesses in the newspaper and signboards and banners advertising take-out for restaurants in town. Applications are scheduled to open the first week of September for $150,000 in additional grant funding acquired by the City through a Community Development Block Grant will be administered through NeighborImpact. "Staff continues to apply for grants that can help our community through this COVID crisis. We recognize that the economic recovery is going to take some time and creativity," stated Mayor Ladeby. "The community doing their part while government does their part is critical to the vitality of Madras."
The Chamber of Commerce has been heavily involved in engaging with businesses and explaining the various grants and opportunities to local businesses. "From the beginning of COVID, it has been challenging for businesses to know what's available and to navigate the complexities of what is available to them," stated Madras-JC Chamber Executive Director, Joe Krenowicz. "The grants administered by the City have been straight forward, easy to apply for, and awarded quickly. Something our local business community has appreciated."
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