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New round of small business relief

Grants now available for those affected by Main Street construction

Main Street, Lake Placid, was hopping — from visitors and construction workers — when this photo was taken on June 24. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — Small businesses affected by the Main Street and Saranac Avenue construction project this past spring are now eligible for grants from the town of North Elba Business Emergency Grant Fund.

The program, originally designed to help businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic, was awarded $225,000 through the North Elba Local Enhancement and Advancement Fund (LEAF) in April. LEAF is funded by 2% of the county’s 5% occupancy tax.

“The demand fell below what we had available, so the IDA board reprogrammed it for a second round,” Essex County Industrial Development Agency Co-Executive Director/CEO Carol Calabrese said Monday, July 12. Since the first round of grants in late spring fell short — with only $71,900 awarded — Calabrese said the parameters of the grant program would now include businesses negatively affected by the upgrade of Main Street and Saranac Avenue, which began in early April and is now, for the most part, on pause for the summer. Businesses applying for the Main Street/Saranac Avenue eligibility must have addresses between 1930 Saranac Avenue (Price Chopper) and 5920 Cascade Road (Courtyard by Marriott).

Grants in the second round, ranging between $5,000 and $15,000, will still help businesses — with no more than 25 full-time equivalent employees — that have suffered an economic injury due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses must be physically located in the town of North Elba, which includes parts of the villages of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, and the annual gross business revenue must be less than $1 million.

Closing of a business temporarily during the pandemic does not affect eligibility; however, the business must be open and operational by the end of 2021. Existing businesses that were purchased and business start-ups that were opened and operational by April 30, 2020 are eligible.

Ineligible applicants include landlords and short-term rental properties.

Funds from the COVID-19 Business Emergency Grant Program can be used for the following:

– working capital for rent, mortgage payments, utilities, payroll and inventory

– furniture, fixtures and equipment

– personal protective equipment and supplies related to the prolonged pandemic and safety protocols

All projects funded by the grant are expected to be completed by Oct. 29.

Grant money can’t be used for paying off existing debt, refinancing of loans or acquiring a position in a business.

The Lake Placid Business Association helped design the grant program; it was based on a survey the group sent to members in January.

Help with applications is available through the SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Clinton Community College. Call the SBDC at 518-324-7232 for more information or go to www.nysbdc.org, complete and submit the form mentioning the “North Elba Grant.” Once they receive the form, a business adviser will contact the business to schedule an appointment.

Grant applications are available through the Essex County IDA by emailing info@essescountyida.com or calling 518-873-9114. The deadline is noon Aug. 2.