Celina City Council members discussed a potential micro-grant program to help small businesses affected by ongoing and planned city construction during a March 7 meeting.

If approved by council members at a future meeting, the grants could help local business owners ease any revenue loss tied to complications with city infrastructure improvements, such as restricting access, Strategic Services Manager Anthony Satarino said.

The big picture

The idea for the program came when a downtown business owner asked city officials in October 2023 if any similar programs were available as downtown construction projects continued. The city and the Economic Development Corporation has the authority to create a similar financial program, Satarino said.

Further research and two council presentations in December 2023 and February 2024 gave city staff a rough idea of how the program would look, but more work is needed before it is finalized for council approval, Satarino said.

For example, the parameters businesses would need to get a grant and the turnaround time to give out the money are still being figured out, he said.

Businesses may be doing poorly financially for reasons other than infrastructure improvements, council member Wende Wiggington said.

“You want to fit into that box but we don't want to open Pandora's box,” Mayor Ryan Tubbs said.

Going forward

City staff will spend the next few months researching and creating parameters for the program before council members consider it in July, according to a meeting presentation. If approved, business owners could begin sending in grant applications in September.