Meg Hibbert Contributing writer
More than 70 Salem businesses have applied for COVID grants up to $5,000.
After hearing an update from Economic Development Director Melinda Payne at the EDA’s July 21 meeting, members of the Salem Economic Development Authority discussed setting criteria and agreed to meet later this week to begin going over applications.
About 20 of the applications are complete, City Manager Jay Taliaferro said. The city has total federal grant money of $500,000 to help small businesses affected by the pandemic.
There is a wide range of ways businesses explained how they have been affected, Finance Director Rosie Jordan said, and how they would use the grant money.
Under the guidelines, funds may be used for payroll, responding to new market conditions, equipment purchases, rent or mortgage expenses, deep-cleaning services and other critical operating expenses.
Salem intends to help businesses that have 75 or fewer full-time and part-time employees.
In other business at the EDA meeting held in the Community Room of the Salem Civic Center, members learned:
- Total Action for Progress has reduced its contribution to pair with a Salem loan from from $33,000 to $25,000. The organization is asking for $71,000 from Salem. The matter should go back to Salem City Council to see what their pleasure is, Salem Counsel Steve Yost said.
- The EDA was asked to pay $5,000 to pay for Dumpster collection of construction debris, associated with renovating 2 West Main Street, being converted by Realtor Basil Khan from a former music company space to residential and commercial spaces.
Payne also updated the EDA about Salem restaurants that have re-opened, closed or are coming. She said:
- El Jefe reopened last Wednesday;
- Dynasty Asian restaurant is closed and a sale is pending;
- Denney’s “might be coming back,” Payne said.
- West Salem BBQ is closed, as are IHop and Pizza Den.
New restaurants that are coming or changing locations are:
- Chipolte on West Main across from McDonald’s;
- Little Caesars is moving to the shopping center where Kroger is located;
- Angelle’s is planning on re-opening soon, Payne said, as soon as sufficient staff is hired and trained.
- A family-style restaurant now located in the county is interested in relocating to Salem, she said.
The EDA will meet Aug. 18 with developers Ed Walker and Brent Cochran for an update on property they own and plan to develop in Salem. A meeting with the EDA is pending with Richard Bishop, who owns a major property on College Avenue and is now interested in developing it, Payne added.