CANTON – The city will use up to $1.15 million in American Rescue Plan money for additional grants to small businesses in Canton.
City Council on Monday authorized the mayor or public service director to contract with the Economic and Community Development Institute Inc. (ECDI) for the administration of the program using the federal COVID-19 stimulus money.
The city previously partnered with ECDI for a small business grant program primarily funded by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. About $1.17 million in grants was distributed to 177 city businesses.
Mayor Thomas Bernabei said this COVID-19 relief program will be similar but the recipient qualifications are “still to be worked out.” He expects ECDI, which will receive a portion of the funds for administering the program, to again make the application available on cantonohio.gov.
“I would anticipate that they would follow the same procedures,” he said.
The city expects to award 80 to 100 grants — up to $25,000 each — to small businesses, according to a council memo from Deputy Mayor Fonda Williams.
It’s the city’s first appropriation of American Rescue Plan funding. Canton has received $31.8 million and expects to receive a second payment of the same amount within 12 months for a total of $63.6 million.
Three other uses for the federal funding have been identified but have not received the council’s approval yet. According to a memo from the deputy mayor, upcoming legislation will include:
- A Stark County Community Action Agency program to help low-income adults and seniors live independently. The Senior Telephone Reassurance and Independence Program (STRIP) will use a network of faith institutions to help enroll seniors who will receive regular contact from aides.
- A Malone University program to provide housing assistance to junior and senior students affected by the pandemic.
- A Stark County Minority Business Association program to provide services, such as mentorships and assistance with state certifications, to minority-owned businesses. It also will involve entrepreneurial training for young people who are minorities.