Business survivability grants available to businesses

By Jef Rietsma

The village of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Community Foundation have partnered to distribute $40,000 to local businesses impacted by restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 virus.

Village Manager Jim Mallery at a Dec.21 meeting told council members about a business survivability grant, which creates financial assistance for businesses that meet eligibility criteria. Mallery said about two dozen potentially qualifying business have been made aware of the opportunity.

“We have made contact with businesses in the village that fit the (qualifying) categories and have held two Zoom calls educating them,” Mallery said. Grant-request forms were mailed to prospective recipients Dec. 22.

Village president Tim Frisbie called the program “an awesome opportunity” and said Vicksburg is fortunate to have such a strong and generous foundation. Mallery agreed and said the village also has strong owners who demonstrated great selflessness.

“I was pleasantly pleased at the character of our business community because I had three of the businesses that certainly met the criteria, all independent of one another, and spoke how their businesses had not been drastically impacted because of the amount of take-out food they’ve provided,” Mallery said. “And they wanted to see that money redistributed to those that would need it more.”

Prospective recipients have until Jan. 13 to return an application. Village council members will determine the beneficiaries during the council’s Jan. 18 meeting.

In other action, council members approved accepting an application from Jaspare’s Pizza to be a part of the village’s Social District. The concept allows participating businesses to offer outdoor seating and patrons are allowed to carry drinks in specially designated cups from one location to another.

The council expects to approve an application from Distant Whistle in January. If its application is approved by the village, five downtown businesses will comprise the Social District. Application approval by the village is a step forward in the process, as Mallery said the five businesses now must be approved by the state.

Mallery said the state has already approved the village resolution to have a social district.

“Most municipalities have found that submitting all (business) applications together are better,” he said. “I anticipate approval from the state by the end of January and we could start the formality of the Social District after that.”

In a separate matter, council members approved the third and fourth phases of the Allen Edwin residential development west of 22nd Street and south of U Avenue. Together, the phases will include development of 56 single-family homes.

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