PUEBLO — The first distributions from the City of Pueblo COVID-19 Emergency Loan and Grant Fund have now been awarded.
According to Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar, almost $1.2 million in loans and grants have been awarded to Pueblo small businesses.
City of Pueblo Grant and Resource Development Director Shelly Durham says 527 requests for applications were received, with 491 applications were sent out.
“What has stood out most to me working on this program is the goodness of the people of Pueblo," said Durham. "Small businesses are really hurting. And yet application after application, people aren’t asking for the maximum grant allowed. They’re asking for only what they absolutely need, making sure there is enough to help as many local small businesses as possible. That says a lot about our community.”
As of Wednesday, the panel forwarded 81 applications to the Mayor with recommendations for funding. The Mayor has approved 69 applications to date.
“We have had an overwhelming response to this program, and I would like to thank the City Council and our PEDCO partners for making this program available to our local businesses,” says Mayor Gradisar. “Small business is the lifeblood of our community and this pandemic has damaged them severely in Pueblo. This program will not make all of our small businesses whole, but if it can help them survive and prepare them to phase back up as soon as it is safe to do so, it will be successful."
Michael Hartkop of Solar Roast Coffee, Glen Grady of Pizza Ranch and Cindy and Martin Ayala of Nacho’s Restaurant, who all received grants, said the money will really help them in the time of need and cannot thank everyone enough to make the emergency funds possible.
The COVID-19 Emergency Loan and Grant Fund recipients must file their March sales taxes before receiving their awards.