Gurnee leaders to add second year of popular small business grant program

Gurnee village leaders are set to renew a popular small-business grant program for a second year.

The first year of the program was approved in September to offer relief to business owners who suffered during the worst of the pandemic.

Village board members could approve the budget at their meeting Monday, including $250,000 to fund the program for a second year.

Though the village only started distributing grants in November, already around $200,000 of the first $250,000 allocated for the program has been committed to qualified applicants. Under program rules, the grant must be used toward improvement projects, such as a restaurant building a patio, and the village will fund half the cost of the project, up to $10,000.

Since the window for businesses to apply opened Nov. 1, 11 restaurants, 12 retail stores and an amusement center have applied for and have received or are in the process of receiving funding, said Jodi Luka, a village management analyst who has been the main contact person for businesses interested in applying.

Luka said some of the approved grants haven't been distributed yet because supply chain issues are holding up projects. She said some of the proposed projects include a $4,305 grant to help pay for new awnings and canopies at Stevens' restaurant, 401 N. Riverside Drive, and a $10,000 grant to help pay for a new roof at McClure's Garage & Towing, 4409 Old Grand Ave.

The second year of funding is intended to help those who are considering whether to invest in their business, Luka said during a presentation to the village board last month.

Luka said she has visited qualified small businesses to tell them about the program and help them apply. She added that the village also has sent letters to businesses along the east Grand Avenue corridor.

"As much info as we've gotten out there, there are still people who don't know about this," Luka said.

More information about the program can be found at

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