Forty-eight businesses located in the city of Wabash will receive grant funding totaling $250,000 through a grant program offered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) awarded to the city of Wabash and administered by Grow Wabash County, according to Chelsea Boulrisse, project manager for marketing and events.

The grants are funded by OCRA through its COVID-19 Response program, which is focused on providing funding to businesses to help them retain low- to middle-income (LMI) workers and minimize lay-offs caused by low revenue during COVID-19 restrictions. The funds, awarded in grants ranging from $2,000 to $15,000, may be used by the businesses for certain expenses incurred during the pandemic, such as working capital, expenses incurred by continuing operations and/or expenses incurred by transitioning the workforce to working remotely.

Grant recipients in the city of Wabash include businesses of all sizes and from various sectors that were hit hard during the pandemic.

“I am ecstatic that the city of Wabash, in partnership with Grow Wabash County, can assist 48 local businesses with funding from this OCRA COVID-19 relief program,” Mayor Scott Long said. “Our organizations have worked diligently to ensure that our local small business community not only survives but thrives as this crisis hopefully is nearing its end. Local small business is the backbone of Wabash and it is what sets the community apart from surrounding cities. Our continued working relationship with OCRA and many other state agencies is strong and getting stronger every day.”

A countywide collaboration is currently in the process of applying for grant funding from Phase II of OCRA’s COVID-19 Response program focused on long-term recovery. More details to follow about this second round of grant funding.

“Grow Wabash County would like to thank OCRA for their support of this partnership with the city of Wabash to help local businesses retain jobs and keep Wabash working despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Boulrisse.

Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County, said the requirements for Phase II would be the same as they were for Phase I.

“We encourage businesses that didn’t apply last time or who did not receive it to apply again,” said Gillenwater.

Gillenwater said they would be submitting the applications this week as the deadline is Friday.

A public hearing about the project has been set for the Wabash County Board of Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, July 6.

“We encourage anyone interested to attend and give us their feedback on the grant program,” said Gillenwater. “This is a competitive grant application so we are not guaranteed funding, so the more public support we can receive and the more businesses we can serve and assist the more competitive we will be and the better chance we have of receiving funding.”

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