Olean council OKs $200,000 in business rent, marketing programs | News

OLEAN — A pair of programs to assist downtown companies acquired unanimous approval on Tuesday.

Aldermen permitted two $100,000 grant programs — one for marketing prices, the opposite for hire help — to spice up downtown companies and people seeking to begin new small companies.

In January, council President John Crawford, D-Ward 5, and Jason Panus, R-Ward 2, unveiled a pair of grant proposals that might stand up to $200,000 into the palms of small companies for prices hardly ever lined by different assist programs.

Under the proposals, $100,000 in assist can be put aside to assist with marketing prices, reminiscent of emblem design, e-commerce, promoting and branding. The different program, additionally of $100,000, would supply 25% of hire prices for as much as 24 months.

“Marketing and promoting is often a price that goes by the wayside,” Crawford mentioned. “This is a approach to assist our downtown companies with search engine marketing, web site upgrades, signage, social media optimization and so forth.”

There are different grant and mortgage programs to assist small companies with tools purchases, however Crawford famous in January that such programs virtually by no means assist with hire or marketing prices.

For the rental assist program, Crawford mentioned there have been 13 empty storefronts on North Union Street and 10 on the primary seven blocks of West State Street just lately.

The program will enable potential tenants to obtain as much as $5,000 in help, masking 1 / 4 of hire for as much as 24 months.

“The thought there may be to fill a few of our downtown storefronts,” Crawford mentioned, with the deal with the primary 12 blocks of West State Street, North Union Street, and Wayne Street. “This is just not open to anywhere in Olean, it’s making an attempt to fill vacancies alongside these throughways.”

Crawford mentioned that whereas this system is mostly geared toward new companies, present companies demonstrating a necessity shall be allowed to use. He famous rents alongside the corridors common between $750 and $1,000 a month, permitting for a lot of months of aid for these new companies in want.

Both programs are capped at $5,000 per business, and are geared toward companies with fewer than 20 staff. No choice towards service, business or industrial sectors was made in both proposal.

Mayor Bill Aiello famous town will obtain round $1.4 million below the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 over a two-year interval. Crawford mentioned this system shall be funded with $200,000 from the primary 12 months’s receipts.

Any funds not spent, Crawford mentioned, can be rolled again into town’s ARPA fund. Aiello famous town has 5 years to spend the help, however the funds should go to fulfill sure targets, reminiscent of serving to companies harm by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, a number of rounds of purposes shall be held in the summer time to assist companies who can’t or should not prepared to use the primary time round.

Keri Kerper, coordinator of town’s Department of Community Development, mentioned town’s present business revolving mortgage fund committee will overview purposes, sending vetted purposes to the Common Council for remaining approval.

Another decision created an settlement with the Jamestown Community College Small Business Development Center to function a free guide for companies making purposes to the programs. Crawford, a finance professor on the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, additionally serves as a guide for the SBDC.


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