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ART Loan Program Finally Begins

ART Loan Program Finally Begins

The Central Loan Fund has about $700,000 and can offer 3 percent loans of up to $15,000 for businesses that are having a hard time because of ART.

It came later than promised, and it doesn’t have the $2 million the city said it would, but the city of Albuquerque on Friday launched its loan program for businesses adversely affected by the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project construction.

The Central Loan Fund has about $700,000 and can offer 3 percent loans of up to $15,000 for businesses that are having a hard time because of ART.

“In our eagerness to get the Central Loan Fund rolled out, launch dates and loan specifics were prematurely announced before everything could be finalized,” said Gary Oppedahl, director of the city’s Economic Development Department. “But as a result of the additional time invested, we are confident of the program’s workability for our businesses, and we are proud of the community collaboration and incredibly fast implementation of this program.”

The loan fund has donations from the McCune Foundation and private contributors, and is still growing, the city said.

Not every business along ART’s nine-mile length on Central Avenue will be eligible for the loans. According to the city, “eligibility requirements include but are not limited to: annual revenues of less than $2 million; reliance on walk-in traffic; a working relationship (either already established or formed in coming months) with the SBRC [Small Business Resource Collaborative] ; an ability to demonstrate a decline in revenue over a two-month period during construction; proof that actions have been taken to reduce expenses; good financial standing before Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction; and more.”

The city said about 400 businesses could be eligible for loans.

Businesses can have their loans forgiven if, among other things, they are still in business along Central one year after ART’s completion.

The SBRC is taking loan applications, identifying eligible businesses and recommending loan amounts. Businesses that want to apply for a loan or inquire about eligibility should contact the SBRC at 505.600.1751.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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