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Storefront program referred to committee

A program to aid qualifying businesses with upgrades to store fronts with grants and loans was referred back to committee by the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. after members raised concerns the program was outside the organization's mission...

  

A program to aid qualifying businesses with upgrades to store fronts with grants and loans was referred back to committee by the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. after members raised concerns the program was outside the organization’s mission.

“This doesn’t create jobs,” Mark Klose, JSDC board member and chairman of the Stutsman County Commission, told the JSDC Monday, Feb.

5. “We can’t be all things to all people.”

The board of directors voted to send the plan back to the JSDC Existing Business Outreach Committee on a 10-1 voice vote with Klose dissenting.

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Corry Shevlin, business development manager for the JSDC, said the program would furnish up to $10,000 as a loan to businesses that matched the funds with $10,000 of their own money for projects to improve the appearance of their building. After the project is complete and maintained for three years, half the loan could be forgiven and the remaining loan would be repaid over three years at 2 percent interest.

Shevlin said a similar program was discussed in 2011 but not implemented because the Stutsman County Commission declined to approve it.

“This is the bones of the program,” Shevlin said. “We need to work out the procedures for the program.”

One of the procedural details yet to be decided would be how the loans would be disbursed, he said.

“The program could use scoring and rankings to determine who qualifies,” Shevlin said, “or it could be first come, first served.”

Shevlin said applications from downtown Jamestown could be scored by the Jamestown Downtown Association to make sure the updates fit in with the overall architecture of the area. How projects from other towns in Stutsman County or from other parts of Jamestown would be scored would need to be determined, Shevlin said.

Klose said the program departed from the JSDC goal of creating primary sector jobs.

“Circumstances make our mission different than when the JSDC was created,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen.

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Andersen said improved storefronts can help in the overall appearance of the community that helps recruit new residents and workers.

“I think it is something Jamestown needs,” she said.

The Existing Business Outreach Committee was directed to provide more detail to the program in order to better define its potential benefits.

In other business, the JSDC approved continuing to explore the possibility of hosting the Small Business Development Center.

South Central Dakota Regional Council dropped the SBDC in October because of high local costs.

Bob Toso, member of the JSDC Board of Directors, said any decision on whether the JSDC should host the SBDC would come after project cost estimates were determined.

knorman@jamestownsun.com

(701) 952-8452

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