Lindenhurst offering incentives to businesses making facade, building upgrades
Lindenhurst has launched a business assistance program to reimburse retail outlets and restaurants up to $30,000 to upgrade facades or make other building improvements.
Other businesses could receive upgrade assistance of up to $20,000 -- on a first-come, first-served basis -- through the new Lindenhurst Economic Assistance Program.
The effort aims to increase the vitality of local business, village officials say.
"We hope that this pivot in our economic development approach leads to greater private investment from businesses within and outside of Lindenhurst," Village Administrator Clay Johnson said.
Another element of the program provides for new or upgraded local chamber of commerce memberships to improve networking and publicity.
Mailers explaining the program were sent to businesses last week and followed up by emails Monday, Johnson said.
"We have been getting a number of phone calls today about the program with people wanting to know more," he said Monday afternoon.
A total of $323,000 from two federal COVID relief packages have been designated for the economic development effort.
Of that, $143,000 is from the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides funding to communities with up to 50,000 people. That will be combined with remaining unobligated federal CARES Act funds and village general funds to create the foundation for the local program, Johnson said.
Illinois received $742 million in rescue plan funding to disperse in two equal payments this year and next. Lindenhurst expects to receive about $1.93 million in Rescue Plan money, with the vast majority assigned to water and sewer improvements.
Many communities are using the bulk of their federal funds to offset sales tax losses or for other projects, but they're also setting aside a portion to assist businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lindenhurst has given incentives in the past but not identified a specific amount to reinvest in local businesses, according to Johnson.
The program includes a "clawback" provision requiring businesses to remain open and in town to receive the funding.
Businesses that don't meet the provisions within a year must refund the entire amount. That decreases to 67% within two years and 33% within three years.
LEAP also will cover the $195 cost to local businesses of "silver" memberships to the Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Current members will have the equivalent paid by the village.
The idea is to provide access to seminars, inclusion in the chamber's community guides, ribbon-cutting events, networking and other publicity.
"Especially coming out of COVID, we're trying to get as much exposure to Lindenhurst businesses as possible," Johnson said.
Chamber membership also can enhance the collective prospects of local businesses, Mayor Dominic Marturano said.
Business and commercial property owners can contact the village at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 356-8252 or search LEAP at https://www.lindenhurstil.org/.