SUBSCRIBE NOW

County block grants ready for Pratt-area small businesses

Gale Rose
Empty parking stalls in downtown Pratt show the local impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Community Development Block Grants are available for select small business that have been impacted by the virus.

Small businesses that qualify for Community Development Block Grants should be receiving those funds very soon. Heather Morgan, Pratt County Economic Development, said once the funds are approved, it won’t take long to get them to the businesses. The funds have already been awarded to the county and are ready to go. The applications just have to be approved. Pratt County commissioners will give the final approval. Morgan addressed the Commissioners about the CDBG in a teleconference call at their March 30 commission meeting.

The CDBG micro loans have stringent requirements but because of the COVID-19 crisis, the Kansas Department of Commerce has loosened those requirements and is encouraging distribution of those funds as soon as possible, Morgan said.

The target range for the businesses is five or fewer employees. A large percentage of these funds have to go to businesses whose employees are in the low to moderate income range. Loans are available at one percent interest for up to three years with a cap of $15,000. Applicants have to comply with the rules and some may not qualify. Many business have shown interest in the loans.

“We’ve got a lot of applications,” Morgan said.

To apply for a loan, go to prattcounty.org and fill out an application then submit it online. It is very important that the applicant follow all the instructions, Morgan said.

Great Plains Development in Dodge City is reviewing the applications to make sure they comply with the regulations. Pratt County Commissioners have to sign off on the grants before they are awarded. Since the money has already been awarded to the county, it won’t take long for businesses to get the money.

“Businesses should receive the funds very quickly,” Morgan said.

Also on the county website are links to small business administration loans that have been made available to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Also at the meeting, the city is closing playground equipment in the city parks because the equipment can harbor germs for several days. The Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake playground equipment is also closed but camping and fishing is still open to the public, said Pratt County Clerk Sherry Kruse.

Darcie Van Der Vyver, Director of Public Health, said her office was still offering Women, Infant, Child services, family planning and immunizations for children under two years of age. There has been limited foot traffic at the Public Health office.

The Pratt County Courthouse is closed to the public and offices are available by appointment only.