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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Launches Great Streets Funding Opportunities for Local Businesses

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Public roll-out meeting tomorrow, August 8, at 5 PM at Rialto Theatre on Kenmore Blvd.

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 08-07-2018

Akron, Ohio, August 7, 2018 In his 2018 State of the City speech, Mayor Dan Horrigan announced the new Akron Great Streets Initiative, aimed at improving ten neighborhood business districts across the City that serve as hubs of business and community activity. Great Streets is designed to support and work collaboratively with the business and property owners in these districts to increase business development, grow community engagement, safer neighborhoods, improve transportation conditions, and enhance aesthetics, urban design, and public space.   

So far, to promote the benefits of this initiative, the City has hosted several public meetings and a celebration event on Aster Ave and released the Great Streets Business Resource Guide. Now, the City is preparing to begin the most exciting part of the initiative, the rollout of two funding opportunities for local businesses:

  • Façade Improvement Matching Grants - Grants may be available for exterior improvements and/ or site improvements. Grant amount must be matched by private funds.
  • Great Streets Microloans - Commercial microloans between $1,000-$10,000 are available for capital improvement projects. There is no equity requirement; however loans must be backed with a personal guarantee.

“We know it is a consistent challenge for small businesses to acquire the capital they need to grow or operate,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “In addition to federally-structured façade grants, we decided to create Great Streets Microloans to meet the needs of our local small businesses and make funding for small but transformational investments more accessible.”

Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development James Hardy added, “When we asked Akron-area consumers which factor would influence their decision to shop in one district or another, 94% of those surveyed indicated that a ‘pleasing look and feel of buildings in the district’ would influence their decision to shop in one district over another. This tells us that funding opportunities for capital and façade improvements have the potential to positively impact not only the aesthetics of our neighborhoods, but the bottom lines of our businesses.”  

For more information about eligibility requirements for these programs, business and property owners are encouraged to attend the Great Streets Funding Roll Out event on August 8, 2018 at the Rialto Theatre (1000 Kenmore Blvd.) from 5 to 7 PM.  The Rialto Theatre is a previous recipient of a façade improvement grant. Those interested in attending can register here.   

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