More bridge assistance available through county IDA

CROWN POINT - Empire State Development recently announced the award of $635,000 to the Essex County IDA to create the Champlain Bridge Recovery Fund/Community Loan Fund.

The fund will assist the businesses economically affected by the Lake Champlain bridge closure. The loan fund will provide financial assistance to small, independent owned and operated businesses and not for profit organizations that have had business operations affected by the closure.

This is the third component of Governor David A. Paterson's $2.94 million Lake Champlain Bridge Economic Assistance Program.

Empire State Development partnered with the Essex County IDA in developing the Community Loan Fund. The Essex County IDA will administer the loans to qualifying business owners and not-for-profit organizations and all repaid funds will stay in the community for future business investment and growth. Loan repayment may be deferred until bridge service is restored at the lender's discretion.

"When the Champlain Bridge first closed several months ago, we immediately set out to assist our local businesses who were struggling," said Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis M. Mullen. "Through Gov. (David) Paterson's leadership, we mobilized an economic assistance program to support those businesses that were adversely affected by the bridge closure. Now, the community loan fund will be available for firms challenged with daily operating costs. We thank the Essex County IDA for their partnership in administering this program, helping in our efforts as we work toward sustainable recovery in the region."

"We have been working closely with the effected businesses, communities and state agencies since day one of this crisis. The Essex County IDA is well-suited to administer these funds and is appreciative of the Governor's Assistance Programs," stated Darren Darrah, chairman of the Essex County Industrial Development Agency. "Also, the forethought of allowing these monies to remain in the county for future reinvestment goes a long way."

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