HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) — The City of Huntington has announced a new local business and nonprofits assistance grant program aimed at helping local small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 and help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Through this program and other measures taken over the past months, the City of Huntington remains committed to supporting our local business community as it does its part to lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in our city,” said Mayor Richard Strick Tuesday in a press release.
The new ‘Making Space Initiative’ program allows businesses to use the grant money for heaters for outdoor seating, awnings with no walls, plastic shields or dividers and qualified air purification units – just to name a few.
Businesses with parking lots may also submit an application to convert parking spots to house temporary outdoor seating.
Funding comes through the federal CARES Act money allocated to the city.
Since the start of the pandemic, The Brick House Grill has seen a fluctuation of customers. Regulars that used to come in once or twice a week are now ordering online or pick up to go orders. Owner Barbra Sprinkle says it’s been a blessing to live in a small community that is helping small and locally owned businesses like hers.
“I think that it’s a great thing that they are actually reaching out and communicating,” said The Brick House Grill owner Barbra Sprinkle. “They understand that it is affecting businesses and they are willing to go the extra mile to offer grants.”
Currently the restaurant’s patio is closed for the winter, but the business says it might use the grant to order space heaters to help open their patio earlier in the spring.
Just a few blocks down the road, HomeCraft is also grateful for the community’s help during the pandemic. The home goods and gift store opened its doors in August and the owners say they don’t plan to apply for the grant money but are grateful that it’s been made an option.
“Our local leaders have just been nothing but supportive, constantly reaching out and they are in and out of our store and supporting us,” said Home Craft co-owner Ronda Smelser. “We know they are truly looking out for our best interest and thank them.”
Interested businesses can find eligibility requirements and the application forms here.