The North Platte area Quality Growth Fund’s review committee will meet Wednesday to discuss allocating $250,000 to help small businesses apply for loans if they are hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The meeting will be held by teleconference only at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Chamber and Development Executive Director Gary Person said.

The $250,000 fund would be used for professional technical assistance to businesses who seek loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to deal with economic injuries from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Also, the advisory committee could authorize Person to seek additional funds for the program directly from the city council, instead of going through the advisory committee, should the demand for assistance exceed the funds available, the agenda for the meeting says.

The North Platte COVID-19 small business assistance task force, part of the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation, is asking for the grant money.


Rail park, upstairs buildings

Also on the agenda, money to help build an industrial park with access to the railroad, as well as money to discuss the revitalization of upper floors in downtown buildings.

The Chamber’s economic development committee has been working with Union Pacific Railroad officials towards development of a rail access park in Lincoln County, according to the application.

“This idea was largely discouraged in previous times due to the uniqueness of Bailey Yard’s operations, and the congestion of rail traffic,” according to the application. “However, UPRR has embraced the idea and is working with the chamber on rail access sites that would be acceptable.”

Also, the Nebraska Public Power District has a site ready assistance program that offers grants to help develop business or industrial parks.

Regarding downtown, the review committee will consider a request from Nebraska Main Street Network Inc., for a $4,800 (40%) matching grant for hosting a workshop in North Platte this fall for education on redevelopment and revitalization of underutilized upper floors in downtown buildings.

When the review committee meets Wednesday, it will also discuss renewal of the Quality Growth Fund itself. Under the authorizing legislation, LB 840, the quality growth fund must be renewed by a vote of the people every 10 years. The fund must be renewed by April 2021 or it will expire.

The quality growth fund comes from a small slice of city sales tax receipts. That money goes into an account that is set aside for economic development projects.

To join the teleconference call, call 1-669-900-9128. The meeting ID number is 932 819 075  and the password is 758459, Person said.