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San Antonio City Council allocates federal pandemic relief dollars for small businesses

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Bri Kirkham
/
Texas Public Radio
Many downtown business were forced to close temporarily or permanently during the pandemic.

The San Antonio City Council on Thursday approved nearly $31 million from the American Rescue plan to help local businesses recover from the pandemic.

The plan includes short term relief of $17 million in direct grants to the hardest hit businesses.

“ARPA funding is a rescue plan but also an opportunity. We are looking for recovery for our small businesses and for our economy as whole,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “This robust plan will ensure that current needs are addressed and that we think strategically for the greater good of all of San Antonio.”

The recovery plan includes small business access to $20 million in flexible capital, $3 million for a safety net for the next economic downtown, and more than $1 million to help businesses with long-term growth plans. Small business owners said access to flexible capital was their greatest need.

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Bri Kirkham
/
Texas Public Radio
Closed restaurant downtown with upturned stools visible through the door windows

The plan also calls for spending to promote the production and consumption of local goods and services.

"The federal funding provides an opportunity to build long-term resiliency in our small businesses,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. "We want our small businesses to be able to withstand future unexpected economic downturns and this recovery plan gets our local economy moving in a positive direction.”

A city advisory commission devised the plan based on comments from the public.

“This plan is a result of extensive community input from our small business owners and support organizations. Ultimately, we heard their message loud and clear: put more money in the hands of local small businesses," said Manny Pelaez, Chair of the Economic and Workforce Development Committee and District 8 Councilman.

"I feel confident that we have a solid plan that will effectively meet the requests of our local business community. Thank you to all the business owners who took the time to help to shape this outcome by sharing their experiences and struggles," he said.

LiftFund US will administer the grant money, and applications will be accepted from Aug. 1 to 22, with more details to be announced soon.

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