US State Approves Blair’s $ 1.38 Million Grant Request | News, Sports, Jobs

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HOLLIDAYSBURG – The state has informed Blair County that it will receive a grant of $ 1.38 million to help local hotels, restaurants and bars offset financial losses related to COVID-19.

Six days ago, commissioners authorized the submission of a grant application for the state’s COVID-19 hospitality industry recovery program that lawmakers authorized with an allocation of $ 145 million, to be distributed between counties, depending on population.

At Tuesday’s meeting of commissioners, President Bruce Erb announced that the county’s request had been approved.

“Why so fast when normally, the processes with the state are not so fast?” “ said Erb. “In my opinion, it’s very late in the game and probably not fast enough.

Erb said he was unaware of any sector of the economy that had been more damaged by the state’s COVID-19 shutdown warrants than the hospitality industry.

“Recent statistics indicate that the Blair County hotel industry has experienced an employment decline of more than 20% in the past year,” said Erb. “This is more than three times the decline of any other industrial group. “

Due to state approval, the county is moving forward to signing a contract with Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. who will manage the grant administration tasks. ABCD Corp., which is qualified under state law to handle grant administration tasks on behalf of the county, is expected to be prepared to accept grant applications from local entities by March 15. The state has estimated that the grants will range from $ 5,000 to $ 50,000.

Program guidelines proposed by the governor’s office and posted on the state’s Department of Community Economic Development website state that applicants must have been in business by February 20, 2020 and do not intend to cease permanently. their activities in the year following the grant application.

Priority should be given to applicants who have not previously received a loan or grant from the government and applicants who have closed due to the governor’s declaration of COVID-19 disaster.

Entities interested in funding the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program should contact Tom Seasoltz at [email protected] to be added to a list of applicants.

Mirror staff editor Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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