NoCo relief funds underway, Berthoud joins communities with funds

Communities in Northern Colorado are well into implementing grant and loan programs to benefit small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

As reported Thursday to the NoCo Strong for Business group, which is composed of elected and appointed town, city and county public officials, multiple programs are underway and approving applications for aid. Among the reports:

Berthoud — The town of Berthoud approved a $300,000 fund this week that will provide grants from $2,000 to $10,000 to Berthoud businesses that submit applications and meet criteria. Walt Elish, economic development director for the town, said the fund was approved Tuesday and the first applications are likely by Thursday. The money will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis via a sales tax rebate.

To qualify, businesses will need to remit past sales tax filing forms to the town and be located within Berthoud town limits, the town said in a news release announcing the program.

“We specifically designed this program to be easy for our local businesses to qualify to benefit quickly,” Town Administrator Chris Kirk said. “According to projections, all the businesses in town that qualify would be able to receive funding before the money runs out.” 

Berthoud also is considering contributing to a Larimer County relief fund announced last week but no decision has been made.

Estes Park — Estes Park was first out of the blocks in organizing a relief fund, and has now closed the fund to additional applications because the money has been committed. Assistant town administrator Jason Damweber said the focus for the town now is to develop a plan for “safe reopening” of businesses.

Fort Collins — Fort Collins and the Bohemian Foundation took the lead last week in announcing a $5 million loan fund that will be used to benefit small businesses county-wide. Fort Collins and Bohemian committed $2 million to the fund and other local governments and foundations in the county are gathering the remaining $3 million. SeonAh Kendall, economic health manager for Fort Collins, said 120 applications have been started. The fund is also on a first-come, first-served basis for those businesses that meet the criteria.

Kendall said that Fort Collins also has a smaller relief fund that has already been committed. That fund provided 13 loans at $10,000 each to qualified Fort Collins businesses.

Greeley — The Greeley Area Recovery Fund began with a $250,000 contribution from the city of Greeley, which was to be matched by private donations collected by the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce. Ben Snow, economic health and housing director for the city of Greeley, said $585,000 has been raised to date and has 120 applications for aid. He anticipates that grants from the fund will average $3,000 to $4,000.

Johnstown — A microgrant program has 17 applications so far from local businesses and has awarded eight grants totaling $60,000.

Loveland — The Downtown Development Authority has recommended a $150,000 rent relief fund for businesses in the downtown area. The city council will consider that request at its next meeting. The council also is considering contributing to the Larimer County loan fund.

Windsor — The Windsor town board is considering three options for assisting businesses. It might contribute to the Larimer County fund, to the Weld County relief fund or start a fund of its own. Windsor straddles the Larimer/Weld county line.

Stacy Miller, economic development manager for the town, said that the town would also like to help businesses regain the confidence of consumers once businesses are permitted to reopen. The town may assist businesses with marketing and may develop a program that helps identify businesses that meet safety guidelines.