Libertyville's COVID-19 relief grants target businesses hit hardest by pandemic

  • Businesses with walk-in traffic in commercially zoned areas, like downtown Libertyville, may be eligible for $1,000 coronavirus relief grants from the village.

    Businesses with walk-in traffic in commercially zoned areas, like downtown Libertyville, may be eligible for $1,000 coronavirus relief grants from the village. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Applications for Libertyville's High Five COVID relief grant program will be accepted starting Wednesday. Eligible businesses can receive $1,000. Those in commercial areas with walk-in traffic as well as women or minority-owned business get initial priority.

    Applications for Libertyville's High Five COVID relief grant program will be accepted starting Wednesday. Eligible businesses can receive $1,000. Those in commercial areas with walk-in traffic as well as women or minority-owned business get initial priority. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/31/2021 5:09 PM

Starting at noon Wednesday, eligible Libertyville businesses can apply for a $1,000 COVID-19 relief grant to cover expenses not reimbursed by other programs.

The High Five grant program is being offered by the village using its share of federal American Rescue Act funds distributed to state and local governments.

 

"We know the need is still there for many businesses," said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development manager.

"We worked with locally-owned BeeLine Communications to come up with a name and logo that would be both recognizable on all our grant communications and relayed our interest in trying to give a helping hand to our local business community," she added.

Commercially-zoned businesses with walk-in traffic, such as restaurants, retailers, and salons, will be given priority during the first 30 days of the 45-day program.

Also during that time, 25% of the funds will be reserved for businesses that are at least 51% woman or minority-owned.

Visit http://www.libertyville.com/HighFive for eligibility and other details.

Federal rescue funds are administered by the state and distributed to communities in two equal installments a year apart. The funds can be used to replace revenue lost by the economic impact of the pandemic.

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Village officials in April targeted the general fund, which relies in part on sales tax revenue, for the bulk of the rescue funds. Smaller amounts will go to the hard hit hotel/motel tax and commuter parking funds.

At the time, $100,000 also was designated for a business support program with up to 200 businesses each eligible for a $500 grant.

The village initially expected to receive about $2.5 million in total funding. However, after the state's final calculation, Libertyville's share rose to about $2.75 million.

With that, the village doubled the total business grant amount to $200,000 and the individual grants for up to 200 businesses to $1,000.

"We recognize and appreciate the burden our businesses have carried throughout the pandemic as they have continuously adapted to safely serve our residents and visitors," Mayor Donna Johnson said in the program announcement.

"This effort has come at a significant cost," she added. "The hope is that this grant can assist in relieving some of the cost, allowing the businesses to otherwise use their resources in their operations."

The program is meant to help offset "extraordinary expenses" incurred by local businesses but not reimbursed by other pandemic-related grants or forgivable loan programs.

"It's a little hard to ascertain exactly how people will respond but we know there's a significant amount of interest," Rowe said,

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