Economic Development offers grant opportunity

Joanie Ahlers
Nov 06, 2021
Rich Flowers

Athens Economic Development Corporation Director Joanie Ahlers is asking for applications from businesses that want to improve the eye appeal of their properties.

“We are opening up for a second year a Business Assistance grant. Applicants can to to the website or pick up the forms at the AEDC office,” Ahlers said.

The 2022 Business Assistance Grant Programcan provide up to a 75% matching grant, with a maximum of $12,500, for enhancements such as demolition, facade improvements, landscaping, parking lot repairs, painting and the like. Properties in parts of the city designated for beautification will receive priority consideration.

Applications can be turned in until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.

They must be delivered by hard copy, in person at the AEDC office at 201 W. Corsicana Street in the Athens Partnership Center.

“We provide assistance if they need help filling out the application,” Ahlers said. “The application process is not overly onerous.”

Awards will be announced at the AEDC Board of Directors meeting Dec. 21.

Ahlers said theprogram did not run for a year, during the time of restructuring the AEDC under the supervision of the city government, but picked up in 2021 with several businesses allocated funds.She is proud of the grants the AEDC has awarded so far.

“I think they’re good solid grants for good solid businesses,” she said.

Ahlers came aboard to head AEDC in December, 2019. It hasn’t been a normal first couple of years.

“I showed up to town and the pandemic hit,” she said. “I was making good strides and everything kind of locked down.

“We ran a COVID grant program,” Ahlers said. “I petitioned city council to bring up some of our money that we get via sales tax and enable is to run our own COVID grant program.”

The program expended $93,000 in funds to businesses that needed help.

“And thank goodness, every one of those businesses is still in existence today,” Ahlers said. “Whether it was the 5, 6 or $7,000 that they got from our grant program, I sure hope that it helped.”

Business Assistance Grant recipients for 2021 include:

• Turk’s Apparel and Salon of Style, $6,588.66

• Parker & Richardson, CPAs, $8,887.50

• Kathy’s Boutique - $11,962.50

• Art Matters - $6,663.35.

• Mimi’s Creative Kids Learning Center, $10,000

• Johnny Ballow Homes, LLC, $1,984

• Eagle King Auto Parts - $10,000