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La Crosse small businesses getting $350,000 in grants this week to help offset pandemic



By the end of the week, the city of La Crosse will announce what small businesses will be awarded a total of $350,000 in grant funding to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 50 small businesses will be awarded a grant from the city to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city had to cut down from 114 applications, which totaled $1.17 million in requested funding.

Some businesses were disqualified because they were outside city limits. Others got cut for having things like unpaid taxes or utilities.

“We did give them the opportunity to pay up on those (but) there are some that have not completed that obligation,” La Crosse economic development planner Andrea Schnick said Tuesday on La Crosse Talk PM. “But that was part of our requirement, that there were no unpaid debts to the city.”

Schnick said if more funding becomes available and businesses still need help with the pandemic, they will do another round of the program. 

Businesses that qualified had to employ 75 or less, though who gets what might change some depending on whether other help comes through for those businesses.

“The Paycheck Protection Program and any of the small business association loans,” Schick said, “so we’re seeing now, some businesses getting that funding into their account — some of them today. So the needs from a couple of weeks ago versus today are always changing.”

Overall, about $1.17 million was requested from applications. After cuts, it was $750,000 in legit requests, Schnick said. But the city only has $350,000 in funding at this point.

Each business will receive $5,000 per 10 employees, up to $25,000. Schnick said a couple businesses did qualify for around $20,000-$25,000.

While the city will reward the grants this week, the work is never ending, as it continues to meet with businesses and discuss their needs.

“We held a couple of small business roundtables, trying to get that primary data from them,” Schnick said. “What are they looking for? What do they need? What are their concerns? What do they need from the city, and from the community, to help adapt — not only what’s happened today from having their doors closed?”

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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