Another piece of Utica’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is coming to fruition with a business assistance fund.
The $1 million fund is available for business owners and properties within the DRI target area, which generally follows the Genesee Street corridor and part of Broad Street. The funds can be used in several different ways, including property improvements, signage and permanent commercial equipment.
“In order for any community to prosper, it must have successful small businesses,” Mayor Robert Palmieri said in a statement. “We have an obligation to do everything possible to assist our small businesses, and the Business Assistance Fund provides business and property owners in the DRI footprint a great opportunity to invest.”
The business assistance fund includes $750,000 in state DRI funds, along with additional funds from the federal Community Development Block Grant program and/or American Rescue Plan Act to assist with matching.
A commercial project can be awarded as much as $40,000 in DRI funds if the total project cost exceeds $80,000. The required match — $40,000 in private funds — can be partially offset by the city providing $30,000 of that amount.
As a result, a business owner could leverage $70,000 in public funds for a project while contributing $10,000.
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For mixed-use projects with at least two residential units, applicants can receive up to $112,500 with a $7,500 match.
Any business that makes COVID-related modifications or improvements can receive grants between $5,000 and $15,000 per property.
All successful applicants need to fund the project in full as the grants are only reimbursable on completion of the project. The city will assist in the bidding and award of projects to contractors to make the application process easier.
Applications are available on the city’s website and will be accepted through 5 p.m. Aug. 31. A public meeting on the program will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 17.