WEST CHESTER TWP. – A new grant program for West Chester Township small businesses kicked off this week.
“(This is) a financial incentive program for owners or tenants to make improvements at the front door that enhance the business as well as the aesthetic of the neighborhood,’’ said Katy Kanelopoulos, West Chester’s economic development manager.
The program is open to all small business owners or non-profit organizations throughout the township. Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are now available.
“This is going to be an interesting little experiment to see what we can do – reach out to our businesses … see if they have any improvements they may need to make,’’ said Trustee Ann Becker.
“Hopefully we’ll get a good impact on (U.S. Route) 42 … I look forward to seeing some results.”
Applications will be reviewed based on criteria that include location, no more than 30 full-time employees, compliance with all laws, and the degree that the project improves the property or business.
Examples of improvement include exterior painting, signage, lighting, or demolition of existing buildings.
Scoring to determine grant recipients will be focused on the quality of design, impact to the larger business neighborhood, location, job creation and shared investment of the applicant.
“Route 42 is the heart of our small business community in West Chester and so that is the inspiration behind the new grant program,” Kanelopoulus said.
“The program, however, is open to an eligible small business in the community because we believe all could benefit from the opportunity.”
Online applications for the grants are available at www.westchesteroh.org/SPARK. They are due Feb. 28, 2023. Grants will be announced March 15.
Other grant application periods will be announced next year as long as there is funding. The program is being funded initially with $250,000 from the township's capital improvement program.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: New grant program will enhance West Chester small businesses