Tuesday October 26, 2004
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced a new forgivable loan program to help encourage retail businesses to open or expand in underserved areas.
“Sometimes would-be entrepreneurs need a little extra help to be a pioneer,” Abramson said. “We know there are neighborhoods in our community that don’t have all the services they want, but the residents there want them. And that’s where we can help through programs such as the Retail Forgivable Loan Program.”
The Retail Forgivable Loan Program -- a $500,000 pool of funds – is the fifth type of loan through the Metro Development Authority. The program allows an eligible business to apply for a forgivable loan of up to $100,000 for property acquisition, purchase of business assets, or working capital. The other loans through MDA are for accessibility, façade, gap-financing and brownfields uses.
The loan program will be administered by the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO). The loans do not have to be repaid if the business remains in operation for at least five years.
"At the same time as helping businesses, this effort helps provide the much-needed retail opportunities – the eateries, the butcher shops, the Laundromats – for a neighborhood that makes it a great place to live,” Abramson said.
Abramson also provided an update to COOL (Corridors Of Opportunity in Louisville), the program that assists retail businesses and developers with locating businesses in available sites and working with other related agencies.
In a little more than a year, COOL has successfully helped 71 businesses either expand or newly locate throughout Louisville, committing more than $4 million to businesses and neighborhoods. The investment includes $1.67 million in infrastructure improvements along major retail corridors, nearly $2 million in loans to businesses, and $506,000 in special projects.
Forty-eight new retail businesses and 23 expansions of existing retail businesses have hired nearly 1,000 employees, adding to what is already the largest growing business sector in Louisville. In Louisville, the retail sector alone contributes about $1.3 billion in payroll annually, with an average wage of about $10.35/hour.
For more information about the new Retail Forgivable Loan, residents can call MetroCall at 311 or the Metro Development Authority at 574-4140.