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Potsdam considers small business micro-enterprise loan program


POTSDAM — The village is considering a micro-enterprise program that would give small grants to new or growing businesses.

The money would come from a portion of the $700,000 available for north country communities in the state’s Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program.

These funds were awarded to the region as part of last year’s New York Regional Economic Development funding package.

“They’re just now rolling it out to localities,” said Potsdam Planning and Development Director Frederick J. Hanss.

This $700,000 will be split among local communities, and Potsdam is trying to figure out the best way to use its portion.

The discussions are still in the early stages, and uses could include housing rehabilitation, assistance to first-time homebuyers, and water and sewer improvements.

Mr. Hanss said the village still needs to talk to business leaders to figure out whether they would be interested in such an initiative.

“I’ve been talking to folks around town a little bit about this, and there seems to be some interest in a microenterprise program.”

The village already issues loans to businesses through the Adirondack Economic Development Council. If the village creates a business grant program, it is possible the AEDC would administer that as well. Small grants could be used to supplement loans in some cases.

Mr. Hanss said the idea is far from a sure thing. “We’re a long way from making a decision about that,” he said.

The village needs to gauge whether the program would be the best use of the state funding. A public meeting will be held May 5 to solicit feedback. A time for the meeting has not yet been determined.

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