BURLINGTON — With the closure of Burlington’s Downtown Tax Increment District, leftover revenue generated by the TID will be made available citywide and will include the opportunity for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations to apply for grants.

Burlington’s TID 3 was established in 1998 to redevelop the city’s riverfront from a largely industrial area into a mixed-use one incorporating residential, commercial and recreational amenities. Money generated from the TID was used to fund infrastructure improvements and provide loans for businesses within the TID, until it closed last year.

In August 2018, the Burlington City Council voted to transfer the remaining funds to a loan program that is available citywide and a matching grant program for nonprofits and for-profit organizations.

As of Aug. 31, the fund’s balance was $403,000.

According to a news release from Business Lending Partners, which is administering the program on behalf of the city, the loans can be used for purchasing property, construction or demolition costs, professional fees, working capital and other uses.

The goal of the program is to fill in empty storefronts, create jobs and encourage private investment in Burlington.

“We are preparing our community for positive growth and development, not just for businesses looking to expand, but also entrepreneurs looking to open a new storefront or fill available space,” said Mayor Jeannie Hefty in a release. “With assistance from (Racine County Economic Development Corp.) and BLP, I am confident these funds will be allocated and administered to help meet Burlington’s economic development goals.”

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Matching grants

The second component, the matching grants, is available for up to $15,000 or 50% of eligible costs of an initiative. The for-profit grants could be put towards any of the same uses listed for the loan program, however grants, unlike loans, must go before the City Council for approval.

Eligible nonprofits have to provide services related to arts and culture, community development, education, the environment and safety. Another organization has to provide a matching grant for the initiative being funded.

According to BLP’s website, in order to receive the funds, nonprofits needs to show the initiative:

  • Addresses a communitywide opportunity.
  • Demonstrate ability to sustain significant and long-term impact.
  • Possess well-defined objectives and measurable outcomes.
  • Include financial commitments from funding other organizations.
  • And illustrate plans for long-term sustainability.

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Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

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