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Sandy Urban Renewal Agency board approves expansion of business grant program

COURTESY PHOTO: UNSPLASH/GABE PIERCE - The revised TIP will allow business owners in the childcare industry to apply for grant money from the citys urban renewal fund. For four years, the city of Sandy has offered what's known as TIP, or Tenant Improvement Program, funding to business owners in town. These dollars come from the urban renewal agency budget and are essential matching grant funds allocated to help pay for fixes needed within the building of a business.

As of Monday, July 6, the Urban Renewal Board, comprised of Sandy City Council and representatives of the Sandy Fire District and Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, has approved the changing of this program to include businesses specializing in childcare.

For much of the past year, Council has made incentivizing new childcare opportunities one of its main goals. Councilors Bethany Shultz and Jan Lee have taken the lead to work with area partners and address the need for childcare in Sandy.

"Due to the lack of childcare businesses in Oregon generally and Clackamas County specifically, Council felt that it was very important to not only provide some incentives for this type of business but to do so as quickly as possible," said Economic Development Manager Dave Snider. "Sandy's demographics include a large number of young families, which in turn leads to a large corresponding demand for daycare services in our community. Modifying the Tenant Improvement Program to make daycares and preschools eligible for participation in the program was the simplest and quickest way to make financial incentives available to them."

Now that business owners in the childcare industry are eligible for TIP funding, that means as soon as the end of July they can apply for a matching grant of as much as $30,000.

Also new to the Tenant Improvement Program is the addition of SandyNet fiber installation to the list of improvements business owners could receive reimbursement for. As Snider pointed out Monday evening, if it costs a business $350 to have SandyNet fiber installed in their business, the city could cover $175 of that improvement.

PMG FILE PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Paola's Pizza Barn was the recipient of TIP funds in 2019 when Denise Overton took over operations. Prior to July 6, the TIP covered improvements, such as:

• Any ADA or seismic improvements

• Adding a public restroom

• New interior walls

• New plumbing and plumbing fixtures

• New flooring

• Interior lighting

• Ceiling fans/air conditioning units for dining area

• New interior paint or finishing effects, excluding wallpaper

• Permanent fixtures (adding a bar, counter space, sinks, etc.)

• Grease interceptors

• Commercial hoods

• Commercial kitchen fire suppression systems

• Other improvements as approved by the program manager, according to the city website.

The program was initially created to encourage new businesses and development in Sandy's core.

"I'm excited about this," Councilor Bethany Shultz said. "I am so proud of the leadership the city of Sandy has shown in regards to the childcare crisis that has been identified. Our staff has been working hard to find ways to help at our local level. We have changed code, and now we have added childcare as a specific addition to our Tenant Improvement Program. I hope with this addition, we will see more high quality childcare centers join our city and help fill in the gaps that have been identified. Our working families need affordable childcare and my hope is that this program will be a positive step in the right direction."

For more information on the Tenant Improvement Program, visit the city's website.


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