SMITHFIELD– The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation (DSDC) announced today a grant to support downtown businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Created to address the immediate needs of small, for-profit businesses and discourage vacancies and community deterioration, the Smithfield Strong Business Assistance Disaster Relief Grant is available to businesses within the Downtown Smithfield Municipal Service District.
“As a result of the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been forced to postpone many of our events, such as the Ham & Yam Festival, Rhythm & Brews concerts, and our Independence Celebration. We’ve decided that the best use of the remaining budgeted funds for this fiscal year is to put it back into the community to support the businesses that are hurting,” stated DSDC Board President Benton Sawrey. “Once we are able to do so, the DSDC looks forward to hosting a number of celebrations to bring people together downtown again.”
By re-purposing funding originally intended for other programs, the DSDC has committed to providing $24,000 to initially fund the grant, and will accept donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals who wish to contribute. Grants of up to $3,000 will be made.
“Many of our downtown businesses have had a difficult couple of months, but their resiliency is truly impressive,” stated Sarah Edwards, DSDC Executive Director. “We’ve seen so many of them adapting to a new way of doing business, seeking out additional revenue streams, and taking the opportunity to work on their businesses. Early on, the DSDC adopted the hashtag #SmithfieldStrong as a way to rally around our small businesses and support them during the pandemic. The support from the public has been tremendous, and our businesses have been doing their part, too.”
Applications for the Smithfield Strong Business Assistance Disaster Relief Grant are available on the DSDC website, www.downtownsmithfield.com. Applications must be submitted by 5:00p.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020. Should funds remain after that date, additional applications may be accepted.