The city of Chico unveiled numerous business programs on Tuesday, including a building enhancement grant program that would allow business owners to apply for a $5,000 grant to upgrade the façade of their companies.
City Manager Mark Orme said Chico got American plan rescue act monies to help address the impact COVID-19 has had on local government, businesses, and the community.
The city of Chico earned $22 million from the American rescue program, according to Mayor Andrew Coolidge. The Chico City Council, according to Coolidge, allocated little under $2 million from the funding to different initiatives and programs that assist local businesses.
“We have a building upgrade grant program,” Coolidge explained, “with around $200,000 in incentives of up to $5,000 for commercial firms within the city limits.” “Applicants must be for profit and establish a direct economic need as a result of COVID-19.”
Many local businesses had to postpone storefront improvements because to the epidemic, according to Chico Deputy City Manager Jennifer McCarthy. She explained that enhancements like a fresh coat of paint or a new awning had to wait while the business owner dealt with other issues during COVID-19, which is why Chico chose to provide the building enhancement grant program.
According to McCarthy, this program also requires that the business applying have a current city business license and, if the firm is a renter, landlord consent. Grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning March 21 at www.chico.ca.us.
McCarthy stated, “The award funds will be issued on a reimbursement basis.” “After businesses are told that they have been selected for the award, they must submit a before and after photo as well as paid bills for the work accomplished in order to receive the funding.”
The city’s most proud program, according to Coolidge, is the over-a-million-dollar small business support grant program. Grants of up to $10,000 are available through this program. This is for for-profit firms located within the city borders. According to Coolidge, applicants must additionally establish a direct economic necessity as a result of COVID-19. According to Coolidge, grant funding can be utilized to pay existing responsibilities or cover additional operating expenditures to ensure that operations continue during the epidemic.
“Because many businesses have experienced far more than $10,000 in losses, this initiative will at least be a stepping stone in the right direction to get them back on track and up and running,” Coolidge said.
Another goal, according to Coolidge, is the development of city tourism and marketing, for which the city has set aside $250,000. Development of Chico tourism’s brand identity and logo, website development or modifications, upgrades and integration with local website, tourism collateral information creation, video creation, content and communication plan for tourism asset development, and implementation of a social media marketing program are all part of the program.
Coolidge also stated that $300,000 will be spent on temporary parklets in downtown areas. Parklet design, fabrication, and installation of up to eight temporary parklets are part of this program. This, according to Coolidge, includes all applicable city fees and expenses. He claims that this will assist downtown businesses in recovering and maintaining outdoor seats.
“The goal is to replace our existing parklets in downtown with safer and more appealing alternatives,” Coolidge explained.
McCarthy stated that the city is still in the design phase and that the plans have not yet been finalized.