Maryland's Purple Line construction has been dragging on for years, and the light rail opening is now several years behind schedule. A nonprofit lender in Prince George's County is now offering a second round grant for small businesses that are feeling the effects of this multi-year disruption.
The construction corridor in Prince George's County has seen a reduction in parking, customer access and foot traffic patterns, among other challenges. This was confirmed by Dawn Medley of FSC First. FSC First is the lender who created and administered the grant program for Prince George's County, Maryland Department of Commerce and others.
FSC First hopes to reach 300 businesses this time around after giving out 124 grants last year to businesses impacted by the Purple Line construction. Nueva Imagen Hair Salon LLC, a Langley Park-based salon, was one of the grant recipients in the first round.
Medley stated that the goal was to maintain these businesses, and in turn, provide jobs and incomes for local families.
FSC First was founded in 1978 as a financial institution for community development. The institution says that it has provided more than $100,000,000 in loans to minority-owned and small businesses in Prince George's County and other parts Maryland in the last 45 years. It also provides financial counseling to over 2,000 small business.
FSC will award eligible businesses grants between $5,000 and $10,000. Medley stated that the Maryland Department of Commerce made $1 million of funding available for this program and Prince George's County also contributed additional funds.
Priority will be given to those businesses who did not participate in the initial round. According to a program press release, businesses must be "adjacent" to the Maryland Purple Line construction and demonstrate disruption to their business. They also need to be in good standing within the State of Maryland. Startups are not eligible. Applications will be accepted up until May 12th.
The Purple Line that will connect New Carrollton, Prince George's County, to Bethesda, Montgomery County, had been scheduled to open by March 2022, but now it won't be open until at least mid-2027.
Grants can be used for rent, utilities and insurance, as well as supplies, payroll, or any other daily needs.
In a recent press release, Prince George's County executive Angela Alsobrooks stated that 'we recognize the importance to sustain our small businesses as they are the backbones of our local economies. We encourage eligible businesses along this Purple Line, to take advantage.