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Marshall approves EDA grant program with CARES funding

A total of $500,000 will be available for grants to Marshall small businesses

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall EDA Director Lauren Deutz presented a new CARES Grant program via videoconferencing at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Marshall City Council. Council members approved the grant program, which is geared toward local small businesses and nonprofits.

MARSHALL — After receiving $1 million in federal funding for COVID-19 response, the city of Marshall and the Marshall Economic Development Authority now have a plan on how the money will be used. Half will go to a grant program for local businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, said EDA Director Lauren Deutz.

The Marshall City Council voted its approval of the EDA’s new CARES Grant program Tuesday night. Now, the EDA is trying to get the word out about the grant program, because it will be working on a short time frame, Deutz said. She said they expected to see their first round of applicants by the end of August.

In June, area cities and counties got the news that a total $841 million in COVID-19 aid funding would be distributed across Minnesota as part of the CARES Act. Marshall received about $1 million of the funding, while Lyon County received about $3 million.

Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson said the city understood its CARES funding could be used to help pay for COVID-19 response expenses, or for assistance to businesses. The city was proposing to split the funding, with half going to COVID-19 response and half going to a business grant program through the Marshall EDA.

Deutz went over the details of the proposed CARES Grant program at Tuesday’s meeting. The program would help local small businesses and nonprofits.

“We are looking at a lottery system” for selecting grant recipients, instead of a first-come, first-served basis, Deutz said. But she said the EDA would like to prioritize businesses that were directly affected by Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders, and had to shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. That list includes businesses like restaurants, bars, salons and barbershops, gyms and theaters.

The Marshall CARES Grant Program will be capped at a maximum $500,000, or it will expire on October 15, whichever comes first. Small businesses with one to 15 full-time employees can receive a maximum $5,000 grant, and non-profit organizations can receive a maximum of $2,500. The grant program is a reimbursement program, so recipients need to pay their expenses before receiving a check from the program, Deutz said.

To receive a grant, businesses and nonprofits need to have a physical commercial location within Marshall city limits, and be current with their local property taxes. Deutz said the CARES grants can be used for business expenses like payroll, rent, utilities, equipment costs, or expenses related to implementing a reopening plan and social distancing. However, the CARES grants can’t be used for expenses that were already covered by an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Deutz said the EDA will be publicizing the CARES Grant program, as grant applicants will need to act quickly. Applications will need to be turned in by noon on Friday, Aug. 21. Businesses who receive grants will need to submit records like receipts and proofs of payment by no later than Oct. 15. To help make the application process easier, Deutz said the CARES Grant application is a simple one-page form. She said the EDA was also willing to do in-person applications.

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