All News & Blogs
Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority coming up with criteria for which local businesses should get grants
One EDA grant request came from Seafarer's Coffee House on Caroline Street.
CHRISTOPHER WEHLING/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
BY BILL FREEHLING
Several downtown Fredericksburg businesses have approached the city's Economic Development Authority of late to ask for improvement grants.
The requests follow the EDA's recent approvals of $25,000 grants to both Kybecca, which is building a wine and tapas bar at 400 William St., and Capital Ale House, which will open a restaurant and taphouse at 917 Caroline St.
The EDA heard two more grant requests at its Monday meeting. One was from Eileen Boyd of The Griffin Bookshop & Coffee Bar, which plans to open April 1 at its new location at 723 Caroline St. The other came from Jim Goetz, who plans to open Seafarer's Coffee House at 501 Caroline St.
At least one more downtown business owner--Rick Bousquet of Mind-Melds Boutique at 405 William St.--plans to request a business-improvement grant from the EDA.
The city's economic development department has been fielding numerous calls from small businesses asking for help and wondering how to apply, said Kim Schill, Fredericksburg's business development manager.
But all of the interested businesses will have to wait. The EDA is now in the process of formalizing details of its grants program, and it won't vote on any further requests until a policy is worked out. The EDA is putting together rules to govern matters including criteria for what projects qualify, how frequently it will consider requests, and what budget to set for the program.
The Fredericksburg EDA has about $800,000 to work with, said city Economic Development Director Kevin Gullette. The EDA is not funded by the city's budget, but rather takes in fees as the conduit for tax-exempt bond issuances.
EDA Vice Chairman Tom Crimmins noted that word is out that the EDA has money for grants. He said they're intended to stimulate growth and development that will provide future tax revenue for Fredericksburg--which he said Kalahari Resorts and Capital Ale will do. They're not geared primarily toward making the recipient business more profitable.
"The minute we give money to fix someone's air conditioner we're dead meat," Crimmins said. "We'll be giving money to everyone."
Other EDA member suggestions at the Monday meeting included making an arts component part of the criteria, encouraging businesses to stay open later through the grants, and setting a budget based on a percentage of annual bond revenue.