ERLANGER, Ky. — The City of Erlanger has launched Northern Kentucky’s largest COVID-19 relief program to help small and medium sized businesses struggling with the financial impact of the pandemic.
At $1.2 million, the Erlanger Business Relief Program – which has been approved by Erlanger City Council – is the largest COVID-19 business assistance program in Northern Kentucky.
Businesses interested in learning more about the program’s criteria, including how to apply for funding, can visit the city’s website: https://erlangerky.gov/economic-development/incentives-grants.
“As leaders, we feel compelled to make an impact on our community and help out those businesses that are struggling the most,” said Mayor Jessica Fette. “The creation of the Erlanger Business Relief Program is tremendous news for our city and our businesses when you consider all of the financial worry we had going into this budget cycle because of COVID.
“But overall, this fiscal year the city’s revenues are up 7 percent compared to last year at the same time,” Mayor Fette said. “We have had a tremendous amount of economic development through a number of diversified industries investing in the city and we have been very strategic with our spending. So in spite of this being a very difficult year, our fiscal outlook is strong, which is how we can offer this program to our businesses.”
The city is allocating funding to the program from the federal government’s CARES Act, which the city received in 2020.
Erlanger business owners appreciate the city’s efforts and say the funding will definitely make a difference.
“As a small business owner, this novel approach to assisting small business could not come at a more opportune time,” said Colonial Cottage restaurant owner Matt Grimes. “November and December is usually when I can build up money for the slower months during the winter. I wasn’t able to do that this year because of COVID and I’ve had to lay people off. So this is really coming at the best possible time to relieve some of the suffering so many businesses are feeling.”
Jeff Simpson, the owner of two long-time Erlanger businesses – Johnny’s Car Wash and The Batting Cage – said he plans to apply for the funding as soon as possible.
“This will certainly be a big help,” Simpson said. “Everyone is just trying to survive and hopefully by summer, we will be back to normal. We appreciate any help we can get from the city. It will help us keep everybody fully employed.”
Silverlake The Family Place – which features a fitness center, outdoor water park, indoor aquatics center, gymnastics and more – has had many of its fitness, recreation and social activities significantly limited by COVID-19 restrictions.
“Business is down significantly,” said Silverlake co-owner Chris Derry. “During the second quarter, we had virtually no income. We were closed 75 days for fitness and were delayed in opening our water park for close to six weeks. And once we were allowed to open, we were still restricted to 50 percent capacity. So this program from the city is very welcome and very much appreciated.”
Erlanger officials reached out to other cities – including Covington and Independence – that had implemented relief programs to determine the best approach for the city.
“As we looked at other cities and began talking to businesses in Erlanger, several things started to bubble to the surface and helped us establish our goal of providing relief to businesses that we knew needed the assistance,” said Erlanger Economic Development Director Emi Randall.” ##