Rockford initaitive will give small business owners loans in effort to restore neighborhoods

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — When it comes to getting small business off the ground, owners need every tool they can find. A new partnership announced Thursday aims to make the process a little easier and create jobs along the way.

Leaders say it will support small business, fight blight in the city, and re-stabilize neighborhoods.

“To see all of us work together for the betterment of our communities and business is really an exciting day,” said Mayor Tom McNamara.

The Northern Illinois Community Development Corp. announced it has secured more than $3.5 million in funds, which will be loaned to small business owners.

“We try and lend that gap, that missing piece so they can buy the equipment, start their business and help grow the economy,” says Rockford Local Development Corporation Executive Director John Phelps.

In the past, the RLDC says it negotiated similar loans with small businesses in downtown Rockford — roughly 16 in the corridor between Taco Betty’s and Irish Rose.

This time around, the RLDC says it will work closely with 12 local banks to figure out the gap-loan funds.

“None of the banks in the room expect a return on their investment or a dividend,” McNamara said. “it’s really for community support.”

The NICD says $1 million of the funds are earmarked to support small business owners who purchase and then improve and sell distressed residential properties, which city leaders say will have ripple effects to impact big issues like crime and property values.

“These are often neighborhoods throughout our community that have that one or two homes that really are distressed properties that are bringing down the entire neighborhood property values.”

Partners involved say the success of small business owners, will also mean success for the community.

“The things we can do collectively to make our community a better place to live, better place to raise our kids, that’s what this is really about,” says Denny Roop, manager of Illinois Bank & Trust.

If you are a small business owner and want to learn more about this initiative, you can call the RLDC at 815-987-8675.

Audrey Moon

Audrey Moon

Asst. News Director

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