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Frenchtown Southside CRA to vote on coronavirus disaster relief funds for businesses

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 17:48:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — COVID-19 continues to threaten the work force and business owners, their employees still looking for assistance.

That's why Tallahassee's Greater Frenchtown Southside Community Redevelopment Agency is proposing grants to help out.

Business owners could get up to $2,000 and renters could receive two months rent paid.

COVID-19 has impacted businesses in varying ways, but they all say the money would ease their burden.

"I went from making close to $1,000 a week to maybe $250," said Patrick Williams.

Before the pandemic, Williams saw a steady flow of cars coming in for a wash but that all changed.

"I don't know if they stopped working or didn't have anywhere to go in their cars," Williams said.

Just down the street, a new venture is still waiting to open, delayed by the virus.

"We were anticipating the college students being our primary customers, and then COVID prolonged things," said LaCorey Harris, the owner of 850 Shop. "But we're still trying to fight back."

Greater Frenchtown Southside CRA board members will discuss a Disaster Assistance Program for economically distressed businesses. It sets aside $1 million to give grants of up to $2,000 to businesses in the area.

"It could possibly pay a rent bill or a utility bill," Harris said.

The CRA says it would impact about 63 percent of the businesses under the Frenchtown Southside CRA. Businesses with 50 employees or less are eligible as long as they are using City of Tallahassee utilities.

While some businesses are losing staff due to the coronavirus, others hope the grant money will aid in adding more staff.

"It went from me, myself working to having to have four people at all times," said Jarrett Maloy, the owner of Sneauxball. "Having CRA funds to help out employee costs would be really beneficial."

Maloy says he went from seeing about 10 customers a day to about 80 an hour.

"You're never mad when you have ice cream," Maloy said. "You come in, you get a sweet treat, you leave excited. It could be the highlight of your day."

Money from the grant could go towards making more in the community happy.

The special meeting is set for Monday at 10 a.m. They'll also vote on a rent assistance program to to ensure a roof over the heads of some in Frenchtown and the Southside.