Shawn Carruthers

Shawn Carruthers

NEW ALBANY — The two-tiered strategy by Floyd County of helping local restaurants during the pandemic while feeding those in need in the community worked on both fronts.

In March, the Floyd County Commissioners created the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program to support local businesses. One component of the program is a community food initiative. Backed by $30,000 from the county, meals were purchased from local restaurants and given to Salvation Army, Hope Southern Indiana and Catalyst Rescue Mission.

“The idea behind that was to help locally-owned restaurants kind of weather the storm, so to speak, and then also provide meals to the homeless and elderly at the same time,” said Don Lopp, director of operations for Floyd County.

During Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Lopp announced that about 3,400 meals were purchased from eight restaurants through the program.

With the local funds exhausted for the first round, a second phase will be footed through a $50,000 grant the county received from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Lopp said details of the second phase are being finalized before the second phase is rolled out, and information will be available on the county’s website at floydcountyin.gov.

The Floyd County Redevelopment Commission set aside money for three different types of business loans as another element of the program. Micro, fast track and innovation loans were made available through an application process. The micro loan has been the biggest hit, as Lopp said eight applications had been funded as of Wednesday.

The micro loan is for small, local businesses with one to five employees. It’s a two-year, 2,000 loan with no interest charged.

“Companies don’t have to repay for the first six months then they have 18 months to repay after that,” Lopp said.

There are still funds available for the loan program, and more information is available on the county’s website.

Additionally, the county provided $100,000 toward an emergency loan fund for businesses administered through One Southern Indiana, Caesars Foundation of Floyd County and Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.

Forgivable emergency loans of up to $10,000 are available to local businesses through the fund, and Lopp said 10 companies received funding through the initiative.

After hearing updates on the county’s efforts during Tuesday’s meeting, Shawn Carruthers, president of the commissioners, said it’s vital for the community to support its local businesses.

“Without our local businesses and restaurants, we would have less of a quality of life in Floyd County,” he said.

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