by Geoff Fox
Town officials awarded almost $50,000 to five businesses in town as part of the Revitalization Grant program. The town started the program using funds from their ownership stake in Trulieve, formerly known as Harvest, the local medical cannabis business.
The five businesses to receive the grants were Triangle Restaurant and Lounge, Hancock Realty Holdings, Potomac Chiropractor, Willie’ s Primitive Attic, and Flannel on the Trail.
With the exception of Potomac Chiropractor, who requested $8,500, everyone got $10,000.
All five businesses were unanimously approved for the grant award.
Town officials said they figured these grants would be the best use of the Trulieve proceeds, by putting it back into the community.
The plan is to replenish the grant coffer as long as there is a need.
There was one small bit of confusion in the requests when Flannel on the Trail requested part of their grant be used for a lease agreement.
Mayor Tim Smith was a little hesitant to approve the full amount of the grant because the money wasn’t intended for lease agreements. The owner of the store, Deanne Baker, told town officials she did indeed file the
necessary paperwork. Town Advisor Bill Valentine noted Baker did have everything but hadn’t signed the lease yet because the town doesn’t pay for anything already paid for. Councilman Roland Lanehart, Jr. said he was under the impression the grant funding was only for interior and exterior improvements for revitalization.
Town Manager Mike Faith suggested, at the discretion of the mayor and council, the town could change the language of the grants.
On Friday, Faith explained those applying for the grant would talk to him or Valentine and go through the document line by line and explain what permits would be needed.
The program is not a funding program, he said. Instead it is a reimbursement program to pay for interior or exterior improvements to a business or building.
Once the business or building owner pays for the work, they’d turn in receipts and the town would reimburse them.
The grant application would be turned in to the town office before going to a three-member grant committee for approval. Once the committee approves the application, Faith said it would be up to the mayor and council to give the final approval.
Once completed, Faith said he and the town would work with the business to make sure the terms of the grant are met, such as verifying what was purchased or fixed up under the grant approval.
Faith said his goal would be to have a few grants up for approval at each town meeting.
While there are rolling deadlines for the grants, Faith said he encourages people to get on board and get things started.
Faith said anyone with questions about applying for the town business grants can contact him at 240-707-7128.