Digital Reporter- Jeff Bohen
At the July Bristol Borough Council Meeting, Bucks County Commissioner Robert G. Loughery announced a new County push to help small businesses with infrastructure improvement projects.
“As everyone knows infrastructure is a big issue from the federal government down to the state and county level. But probably most acutely impacted are small towns and boroughs who have old and aging infrastructure,” Loughery said. “It’s also a challenge for small businesses, whether they are trying to expand or relocate. We wanted to look at some ways that we could help small businesses.”
The initiative will be led by Bristol Borough under the supervision of the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority (BCIDA).
According to officials, Bucks County has appropriated $50,000 through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program toward the program, which will provide grants and low interest loans to property owners for repairs and replacement of deteriorated lateral connections to main sewer systems.
“We’re trying to pilot this here in Bristol because we think there it is a need on Mill Street,” Loughery told borough council earlier this month. “We’d also like to take this to other Main Streets throughout the County,” he said,
Mill St has been going through a visual and structural transformation over the last several years as council, with an assist from Raising The Bar, The Bristol Borough Business Association and The Bucks County Redevelopment Authority have been working to revamp the merchant district in look and feel.
This new effort Loughery said will be for small businesses and dealing with lateral connections and utilities to help property and business owners with some of the issues they may not know about when moving in or when they need to get the building renovated and the upgrades that come with that,.”
The program will provide a grant, dollar-for-dollar match up to $20,000, officials said.
Successful applicants will be required to provide a dollar-to-dollar match either from the applicant’s own Capitol or a low interest loan from the BCIDA, officials said.
Applicants will also have to commit to creating or retaining one job for every $20,000 granted and/or loaned
“A healthy economy requires small business growth and sustainability. When small businesses are healthy and prosperous, the community-at-large benefits,” said Loughery. “Keeping our small businesses free from the challenges of aging infrastructure is one way to keep them sustainable.”
Applications are available to small business and property owners in Bristol Borough through the BCIDA. For information, call 215-880-6071. Information pamphlets outlining the program are also available at the Bristol Borough Hall.
“We wanted to look at some ways that we could help small businesses,” Loughery said.