Schenectady, N.Y. — The Metroplex Board of Directors today approved a $250,000 loan fund to help businesses impacted by the State Street Streetscape Project.
“This new loan fund is designed to help businesses whose walk-in traffic has been hurt by the streetscape project. Our goal is to help existing businesses keep their operations intact and retain jobs until the construction is completed,” said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen.
Mayor Brian U. Stratton said, “the State Street reconstruction project is something that we inherited from the previous administration at City Hall. While it will ultimately improve the appearance and business environment downtown, the seemingly endless construction cycle has been difficult for City residents and merchants alike. This needed loan fund will help small business get through the last stage of the streetscape work. In the future, through our coordinated City/County/Metroplex team, we will be much more pro-active in planning projects like this and considering the impact on merchants before projects get underway.”
Gary Hughes, Chair of the County Legislature’s Economic Development Committee said, “I first raised this issue with Metroplex after receiving complaints from many City merchants on the impact that this project has had on their operations. Small business is the back bone of the City and we need to help them grow and prosper. Many long-time City businesses have been hurt by the three year long Streetscape Project. We have expedited the project this year and the end is now in sight, but we must help businesses hang on until the strong wave of new investments we have coming downtown take hold and push our economy forward.”
The new loan fund will be administered by the Schenectady Local Development Corporation which has a strong record in making loans to City businesses. Small businesses located from Fehr Avenue to South Church Street including the Jay Street pedestrian area are eligible to apply for loans up to $10,000 at 0% interest. The loans will have terms of three to five years. A streamlined application process has been put in place and applications will be accepted from November 1, 2004 until April 30, 2005. Companies must demonstrate that their business has been negatively impacted by the streetscape work. Loans can be used for equipment, façade improvements and working capital needs. Companies must have been in business for two years and must be current on local taxes.
Frank J. Maurizio, President of the Schenectady City Council said, “Our City merchants along State Street and on Jay Street have hung in there during the long streetscape project. This new program will help small businesses survive and hopefully thrive as our efforts to revive downtown continue to move forward.”
Metroplex worked closely with the Chamber of Schenectady County, the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, the Schenectady Local Development Corporation and the City’s Development office to put together this new program.
Proceeds from loan repayments will be added to SLDC’s existing loan funds so that these funds continue to rotate and help additional businesses in the future.