Two business districts can apply for Peoria Heights aid program, first-come-first-serve basis

Business News

PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (WMBD) — Businesses in Peoria Heights can apply to an aid program, which aims to help offset the financial strain of COVID-19.

Businesses within the Village’s two Business Development Districts (BDD) – some 210 businesses in all, including those along the busy War Memorial Drive and Prospect Road commercial corridors – can apply for one-time grants of up $1,500 on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We have a very close community,” said Mayor Michael Phelan. “We know our businesses, which are primarily family-owned. We immediately had great concern. We can do this for them, and we wouldn’t do this if we couldn’t afford it.” 

The dollars would help make mortgage or rent payments. The one-time grant is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

“We project $330,000 out of the BD [business district] fund will cover everybody if they apply,” said village administrator, Dustin Sutton. “It depends on the individual mortgage. If someone has a $1,000 mortgage, and they apply, they’ll get $1,000 not the $1,500. They’ll get a max of $1,500. So, we’re not really sure how those numbers will roll out by the end of the month, but there is enough money in the program to cover it.”

Documentation must be provided as evidence of the amount of mortgage or rent paid on or after May 1 of this year. The business must have been in operation as of March 16, 2020, at an address within one of the two BDDs. The reason the BDD businesses were chosen for inclusion is that they’re the ones who pay into the fund, who in fact “collected this money for us in the first place,” Mayor Phelan said. “We’re just investing it back in them.”

The one-page application is being sent in an email blast to business owners Wednesday. You can call the village hall with questions: (309) 686-2385. Those interested in submitting an application should feel free to contact the Village Administrator at 309-686-2385 or at dsutton@heightspd.com.

Watch the full press conference below.

The mayor also touted the ongoing business investment in the Heights despite what the pandemic has done to the economy.

Kim Blickenstaff’s Atrium Hotel – “a true boutique hotel unlike any other between St. Louis and Chicago,” said Phelan – is moving forward, along with a popcorn and gourmet candy operation at the Pump House, also a KDB Group project. Both make appearances and presentations before the Heights Zoning Board of Appeals next month.

Look for a rooftop bar atop 4500 Prospect, with entrepreneur Keith Hubble and Edge restaurant owner Dustin Allen behind that effort. And Mike Vandy soon will be making wine in Peoria Heights with his Water’s Edge Winery & Bistro in Heritage Square, on the second floor above Brienzo’s Wood Fired Pizza.

Finally, the Heights is proud of its $523,000 budget surplus, a marked turnaround from the deficit spending of just a couple of years ago. “With a lot of unknowns, having cashing on hand is very important,” said the mayor.

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