City Manager Fred Ramey said Wednesday that the program, funded with federal USDA Rural Development grant money, has approved 36 loans and is reviewing six more applications.
The loan program was approved by the City Council two weeks ago as part of its emergency declaration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramey said. Aimed at brick-and-mortar businesses inside the city limits, Norton Strong is designed to help them stay afloat until federal stimulus business loan and Paycheck Protection Program loan funds become available.
The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and LENOWISCO Planning District Commission last week announced their own grants to localities in their member regions, and Ramey said that will add another $50,000 to the Norton Strong fund.
The city’s loans have gone to vehicle service operations, beauty shops, construction-related businesses, medical, retail, restaurants, tourism/entertainment and other service-related businesses.
Norton Strong loan applications can be found online at the city’s website: www.nortonva.gov/nortonstrong.