GROVE CITY – Small businesses in Grove City have a second chance to apply for COVID-19 grant funding that has been allocated to the borough.

Grove City borough council members on Monday agreed to reopen the application process for 30 days.

Borough Manager Vance Oakes reported that three businesses had applied for the funding, which is designed to help with financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The borough received about $64,000 from the Department of Community and Economic Development through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.

Penn-Northwest Development Corp. has been overseeing the application process, and Grove City businesses had from Feb. 22 through March 26 to submit the required paperwork to receive up to $10,000.

While there’s quite a bit of paperwork and certain requirements have to be met in order to be considered for the grant, borough officials had been hoping that more businesses would apply.

The borough spread the word through a public notice and reached out to a number of small businesses, and Allied News published an article sharing details about the application.

Penn-Northwest determined that two of the three Grove City applicants are eligible for the grant: Rich Marshall of Grove City Dry Cleaners, and Anna Sprando, owner of Designs by Anna.

The third applicant, Emily and Joseph Funte, who own Collage Coffee Company LLC, were not eligible because their business has grown over the past year, Oakes said.

And because it was narrowed down to two applicants, council was considering that Marshall receive $35,000 and Sprando, $29,432.

An eligible small business can receive a maximum of $35,000 if they commit to hiring one full-time employee, Oakes said.

Borough solicitor Tim Bonner wondered if some business owners did not apply because they did not have interest in a grant of up to $10,000 – the amount identified at the start of the application process.

He questioned whether the community should be notified again.

Oakes spoke to Chris Conti, a senior planner with the Mercer County Regional Planning Commission, who said that the borough was not obligated to reopen the application process.

Joel Bigley, council vice president, said he heard that some businesses found the paperwork to be cumbersome.

Oakes added that some businesses were not eligible to apply, like bars, restaurants that sell a certain amount of alcohol, tanning salons, massage parlors, real estate agencies and attorneys.

Council could agree to give Sprando and Marshall $10,000 each and invite them to reapply for the remainder of the grant along with other small businesses, Bonner said.

Council members agreed to move forward with that proposal. They expect to approve the grant recommendations from Penn-Northwest at the July 19 council meeting.

The application and detailed program guidelines are available at penn-northwest.com 

The application asks for details about how the businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, and how the grant would be used to prevent, prepare for and respond to the effects of the virus.

FOR MORE information, call Penn-Northwest Development Corp at 724-662-3705 or email info@penn-northwest.com

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