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Fund created for Cedar Rapids small-business flood recovery

It will provide grants up to $5,000 to help defray loss

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids small businesses recovering from last month’s flood will be able to apply for a grant from a new public-private program to help them get back on their feet.

The Jobs and Small Business Recovery Fund 2016 was created by the city of Cedar Rapids, in partnership with the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, the Small Business Development Center and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. It will distribute grants for up to $5,000, or up to 50 percent of lost sales, product and any additional flood mitigation costs.

Applicants must be a for-profit business located in the 28-foot evacuation area declared by the city during the flood. Grants will be awarded to businesses that required a physical location in order to generate revenue, and had at least one day of zero revenue as a direct result of the evacuation.

The grants are restricted to small businesses with 50 employees or less that are reopening after the flood.

The application is available online at http://smgs.us/3ka2.

The Jobs and Small Business Recovery Fund 2016 initially will be funded with $75,000 from the Cedar Rapids Assistance Revolving Loan Fund and an $8 per book contribution from The Gazette Company from the sale of “Epic Stand.” The book, which will be available Oct. 21 for $10, will document the community’s stand against the rising Cedar River with more than 40 pages of photography.

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation (GCRCF) has opened the fund for private donations from corporations and individual contributions.

At a Wednesday City Hall news conference, GCRCF President Les Garner said the grants are unlikely to cover all the costs incurred by businesses.

“The program is intended to be simple and timely in order to get money into the hands of businesses in need as quickly as possible,” Garner said. “All the contributions to the fund will be distributed to the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance Foundation, which will receive applications for the awards and review them with the assistance of a seven-member committee.”

The committee will represent each of the affected districts as well as individuals who have experience reviewing grant applications.

While many small businesses in the 28-foot evacuation area were not directly affected by floodwaters, City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said they still face the loss of sales and product, as well as costs related to moving items and other flood mitigation measures.

“Much of what we have put together came from the flood of 2008,” Pomeranz said. “The fund is low bureaucracy with minimal rules and regulations. We really want to get these grants out to businesses as quickly as possible.”

For all of The Gazette's Flood 2016 coverage, please visit our flood coverage center.

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