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Loans available for bridge-impacted businesses

CROWNPOINT-Help for businesses impacted by the closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge is still available.

The Lake Champlain Bridge Recovery Community Revolving Loan Program is being administered by the Essex County Industrial Development Agency.

"The primary objectives of the program are to facilitate the assistance to businesses which have incurred additional costs and economically impacted by the closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge on Oct. 16, 2009," explained Carol Calabrese, IDAco-executive director. "Businesses or not-for-profit organizations, independently owned and operated, with 100 employees or less are eligible. They must be a New York state taxpayer and must be in business since June 1, 2009."

The program provides assistance in the form of loans for the purchase of machinery and equipment and lines of credit secured with personal guarantee.

The loan program has assisted seven businesses since the bridge closed, Calabrese said.

"From those seven businesses, 24 full-time jobs and 38 part-time jobs were retained and 13 full-time and 12 part-time are projected to be created," she said. "This loan program is having a positive economic impact. The total amount loan so far is $231,499. There is still approximately $370,000 available to loan out to businesses that have been directly negatively impacted by the Lake Champlain Bridge closure."

Eligible businesses must be involved in manufacturing, defined as manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, processing, growing, packaging, or other enterprise which directly involves the production of an end product; retail, defined as an activity meeting a retail need for county residents and/or tourists; or other business such as transportation, utilities, communications, construction trades, wholesale distribution, agriculture, forestry, accommodations, recreation, food and beverage, art/craft and professional services.

Not-for-profit organizations are also eligible.

"Program funds may be used for justifiable business purpose in direct reference from the Lake Champlain Bridge closure on Oct. 16, 2009,"Calabrese said, "including, but not limited to machinery and equipment, current assets including inventory and receivables, permanent working capital, lines of credit and refinancing of existing collateralized debt where such refinancing is a required element of the project financing."

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