PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–The City of Panama City is kicking off their “Hometown Revitalization Program.”
This comes as the Department of Economic Opportunity announced they are making $60 million available throughout the panhandle for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The funds are available through Community Development Block Grants.
“This is specifically to revitalize commercial corridors that were affected as a result of the hurricane,” said Jared Jones, Panama City’s Assistant City Manager.
To receive funding, the city must submit an application to the state.
“What we have to do currently is demonstrate the need and so we’ve asked businesses that were affected to go to our website and apply,” Jones said.
If the city’s application gets approved, businesses in designated areas would receive aid.
“Eligible activities could be anything from roof replacements to sign repairs to lighting to walkway maintenance,” Jones said.
Bradley Stephens, the owner of Sunjammers, said he was ecstatic to learn about the program.
“We would love to be able to do a solid paint job on our building, the bricks out front we just got repaired from Hurricane Michael so once they’re done curing we need to repaint the entire building,” Stephens said.
Stephens said applying was easy and he encourages other businesses to do so.
Commercial businesses located along the following roads may be eligible.
- Business 98 – Everitt Avenue to Bay Avenue
- Business 98 – Florida Avenue to 4th Street
- Highway 77 – Highway 231 to 6th Street
- Beck Avenue – 10th Street to 15th Street
- 3rd Street – Everitt Avenue to Maple Avenue
- Harrison Avenue – Highway 231 to the Marina
Eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Be located in Florida;
- Be located in one of the six HUD/DEO-eligible target areas;
- Be owned and controlled by persons eligible to work in the U.S.;
- Have sustained Hurricane Michael damages;
- Have been owned and established on or before October 10, 2018 (date of Hurricane Michael landfall);
- Be registered with the State of Florida (certificate of status from the Florida Department of State); and
- Currently have at least two (2) full-time employees and have employed at least two (2) full-time employees on or before October 10, 2018.
The city will also be hosting community-specific meetings both in-person and virtually to further discuss the program in the future.
To see if your business qualifies and fill out an application, visit here.