EAST LANSING, Mich. — The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has awarded 57 businesses with Business Relief Program (BRP) grants through the first round of the DDA BRP. Each business will receive a $2,500 grant to help address financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grant funds were allocated from the DDA’s discretionary funding.
The DDA received 76 applications for the first round of $2,500 BRP grants from businesses within the East Lansing DDA boundary using a process developed by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) to accept and review applications and distribute awards based on eligibility criteria developed by the DDA.
Earlier this year, LEAP surveyed the regional small business community to assess immediate needs due to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and related executive orders. The more than 400 small businesses who responded indicated immediate grant funds were a top need and priority. With that in mind, the DDA focused on additional support efforts for its businesses through its own Business Relief Program following the distribution of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants by LEAP. The DDA chose to use LEAP’s process and assistance in order to distribute the limited funds available fairly and objectively on a rapid timeline. Grant funds are expected to be distributed to the first round of recipients by May 18, 2020.
At a special meeting today, the DDA also approved a second round of $2,500 BRP grants, which will utilize the remaining $107,500 of discretionary funds approved for the program. The application for the second round of BRP grants is expected to open on Tuesday, June 2 and close on Friday, June 5. The eligibility requirements have been modified to allow DDA businesses that are currently delinquent on City taxes and fees to make payments no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, June 1. If payments are made by that date/time, businesses will meet that specific eligibility requirement for the second round of BRP grants. Businesses that received a grant through the first round of the BRP will not be eligible for the second round of grants. Additional details on the second round of grants will be provided soon.
“Downtown East Lansing businesses are the very fabric which defines our community and the experience enjoyed by residents and visitors. They are the very heart and soul of our town,” said East Lansing DDA Chair Peter Dewan. “Today, the DDA unanimously renewed our support to downtown East Lansing businesses as they manage during this global pandemic. We recognize the incredible struggles downtown businesses are experiencing during this crisis and we will continue to explore every possible measure to support them.”
The agenda and video from today’s DDA meeting can be viewed here: https://cityofeastlansing.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Id=217.