In response to the economic impact of coronavirus-related restrictions on local businesses, the task force informed Keller City Council at a May 5 meeting of five fundraising possibilities that would be used to pool funds, which would then be distributed through a loan forgiveness program to qualified businesses, with a maximum loan amount of $5,000.
“We worked long and hard, and I appreciate the work everyone did on the task force,” said Beckie Paquin, council member and task force chair. “The plan is to roll out as many [initiatives] as possible, and Initiative No. 1 is ready to go right now.”
The first initiative would be a 6-12-month temporary naming rights campaign that would allow Keller businesses and individuals to sponsor town structures, streets, buildings and other fixtures.
The naming rights campaign has the potential to raise up to $270,000 if all items are sponsored, according to Trina Zais, task force member and city of Keller director of economic development.
The task force concluded the best way to help local businesses “is by helping them make their rent or mortgage payment or pay employees,” Zais said. “It is something that should not be done over years, plural, but relatively quickly.”
Applications from local businesses for the forgivable loan program will be accepted from May 6-June 3.
Criteria for a local business to be considered for the program include the following.
- Must be a business within city limits of the city of Keller
- Must have been economically injured due to measures enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Must have a valid certificate of occupancy issued by the city of Keller
- Must remain in operation for 12 consecutive months from the award date of the loan
The task force provided details on four additional fundraising initiatives that may be implemented in the future, including a virtual 5K race and a “Beyond the Mask” dinner theater event, along with “Beyond the Mask” reusable shopping bags and buttons.
The combined fundraising potential for all five initiatives totals more than $350,000.
In addition to a fundraising pool for the forgivable loan program, the Keller COVID-19 Economic Task Force will seek to earmark $100,000 from the Keller Economic Development Board as a matching fundraising effort, Zais said.
“The goal of the task force was to engage Keller business owners in order to develop positive, proactive measures to assist businesses to survive and recover from the economic impact of COVID-19,” she said.