ROCHELLE – Through its Restart Rochelle grant program, the City of Rochelle recently distributed approximately $200,000 to local small businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.
Each business applied for up to $5,000 through the grant program. The funds could be used to pay rent, mortgage, insurance, utilities or anything to help make ends meet caused by the COVID-19 shutdown. Approximately $160,000 of the funds came from community development dollars when the city sold its transmission lines and the other approximate $40,000 came from enterprise zone funds.
Since not every business that applied asked for the full amount of $5,000 the city was able to approve 41 business’s requests through the program. The funds were donated to the businesses so they do not need to be paid back, the city just asks for a receipt as proof of what the funds were used toward.
“We hand delivered most of the checks and they were very well received by the businesses,” community development director Michelle Pease said. “One of the business owners was so grateful he was brought to tears, saying that this will help him get through the storm.”
COVID-19 closures and restrictions have placed a strain on many businesses both in Rochelle and around the country. The City of Rochelle is very thankful to have the resources to offer programs such as the Restart Rochelle grant program to its businesses.
“The city is just so blessed to be able to help out our small businesses,” Pease said. “We are so lucky to have the resources as well as a mayor and council that is so supportive.”