Business Roundup - First Watch-1 (copy)

Clarksville has been awarded $250,000 to aid businesses with lower- to moderate-income employees retain their jobs. Those eligible include the restaurant and retail industries, which make up half the town’s businesses.

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Clarksville and Floyd County are among 63 Indiana communities so far to be awarded relief funds for COVID-19.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced Thursday $8.8 million in funding from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) to be awarded to 49 communities who plan to help in the response through testing, increased capacity for heath services, food and supply delivery services or job retention, according to a news release. The announcement comes just days after the first 13 areas were awarded a total of $2.96 million.

Of the latest round, Clarksville will be awarded $250,000 to fund an existing forgivable loan program. Floyd County will receive $50,000 to help provide food and supplies for those experiencing homelessness and elderly residents by coordinating with local restaurants and other food service businesses.

“With today’s announcement, Indiana has awarded more than $10.7 million to our rural communities,” Crouch said. “From increasing access to necessary testing and medical supplies to providing businesses and their workers with much needed relief, these funds are directly assisting in the fight against COVID-19.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an order in March which allows OCRA to redirect Community Development Block Grant funds to aid in the COVID-19 response.

“Public-private collaboration and intergovernmental coordination are critically important in ensuring funding is distributed to our rural communities,” Jodi Golden, executive director of OCR, said in the release. “The creativity and local partnerships OCRA has seen in these applications is inspiring and the Hoosier spirit of collaboration continues to thrive even through this crisis.”

Clarksville Redevelopment Director Dylan Fisher said the $250,000 they’re slated to receive will go toward providing struggling businesses with capital to continue operations, making sure lower- to moderate-income employees don’t lose their jobs.

“This will be utilized as a stabilization and kind of a payroll subsidy to keep those residents and employees of Clarksville businesses employed at this time,” Fisher said, adding that most businesses will be eligible to apply since most have some level of lower- to moderate-income employees.

According to the letter of need sent by Clarksville Town Council President Ryan Ramsey to OCRA in early April, restaurants and retail establishments make up nearly half of the town’s businesses, “and the impacts of COVID-19 are already proving devastating,” according to the letter.

Funds are on a first come, first served basis, and preference will be given to businesses which are maintaining their workforce and encouraging employees who can work from home to do so. The criteria to apply and have the loan completely forgiven depends upon the business retaining at least 75% of its pre-pandemic workforce.

If the company receives a loan and cannot maintain 75% percent of its pre-pandemic workforce, the borrowed funds must be paid back over a two-year period, the first payment being due one month after Gov. Holcomb’s public health emergency declaration is lifted.