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COVID-19 relief grants available for eligible small businesses


Eligible small businesses that were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic may apply for COVID-19 relief grants through the city of Fayetteville.

Money from the Small Business Relief Grant Program can be used to cover mitigation costs related to the pandemic or to reimburse other expenses that resulted from the COVID-19 crisis.

The website began accepting applications on July 1. As of last Tuesday, 28 applications had been submitted to the city, according to Derrick McArthur, the economic development manager for the city’s Economic & Community Development department.

He said by email that the city expects to generate more awareness and interest for the program through media reports.

"The first award notification went to Stephen Haire of Carolina Specialties International on Tuesday for commercial corridor improvement — repairs to the exterior of a building."

Haire said receiving the grant will be “huge’’ for the business.

“We've moved into a new building in the middle of COVID and needed a new roof,’’ he said.

“An entire uplift," he said Wednesday. "Prices went up 35%. So this is huge for us. We're paying a lease payment while we're also paying (the) mortgage."

Haire said he only applied for one of the available programs and will receive $50,000.

The Fayetteville City Council approved $3 million for the program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. English and Spanish grant applications can be accessed online at FayettevilleNC.gov/SmallBusinessRelief.

The new program has two grant categories. The maximum award an applicant can receive for small business development and retention is $50,000. Likewise, the maximum award an applicant can receive for commercial corridor improvement is $50,000.

Eligible applicants are able to apply for both categories.

“Small businesses with less than 200 employees at a physical location in Fayetteville and small businesses with less than 200 employees with physical storefronts in qualified census tract areas may be eligible for one or both programs,” a news release said.

Eligibility guidelines are posted online.

“This is an exciting new opportunity for the city to support entrepreneurs and organizations throughout Fayetteville,” Mayor Mitch Colvin said in the release. “The pandemic triggered setbacks, and this program could be the difference between a recovery success story and an untimely closure. The City Council and I are committed to investments in today and tomorrow supporting a diverse and viable economy with programs like this one.”

Applications will be accepted until all funding is disbursed. Status updates are provided to applicants by email. The time between submission of a completed application to award distribution could take up to six weeks.

Iparametrics LLC, based in Georgia, is managing the Small Business Relief Grant program.

“We want to get these funds directed to the most impacted businesses,” Chris Cauley, the director of the Economic & Community Development department, said in the release.

“This program can help businesses keep their doors open so they can retain and employ our workforce,” he said. “We want to restore the positive economic momentum experienced before COVID-19 and look forward to the continued growth for years to come.”

City leaders put standards and procedures in place to govern the use of the awards. Proper uses for grant awards were established in American Rescue Plan Act legislation.

Payroll reimbursement, property upgrades and cleaning supplies are examples of qualified uses.

If the funds are used for construction, qualifying projects must align with the city’s development standards in the Unified Development Ordinance and state building codes.

Applicants must agree to terms and conditions as well as provide receipts for reimbursement and/or bid proposals.

To learn more about the program qualifications and the grant application process, go to  Fayettevillenc.gov/SmallBusinessRelief. Potential applicants may also call 910-229-0510 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with questions.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com 


Fayetteville, COVID-19, American Rescue Plan Act, City Council, small business, grants