Revolving Loan Funds keep businesses moving
The Northern Kentucky Area Development District’s Small Business Lending Program, or Revolving Loan Fund, is a publicly administered development capital fund, under the direction of Meghan Sandfoss, associate director for NKADD’s Public Administration and Community Development Division. The fund was established through a grant from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The term “revolving” refers to the fact that RLF capital is replenished as loans are repaid and “revolved” into new loans. Revolving Loan Funds are available for start-up and small business expansion. Since 1999, NKADD has loaned $1.69 million, created or retained 153 jobs, and leveraged an additional $6.75 million in private and public investment.
Among NKADD’s many roles, it oversees $600,000 allocated in a grant to the Licking River Greenway Brownfield Coalition from the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection. The money will pay for environmental assessment of brownfield sites assumed or known to be contaminated with hazardous substances. As a result of the availability of these funds, investors can work with community leaders and other stakeholders to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse several brownfield sites. For instance, in the city of Ludlow, situated along the Ohio River, grant funds are paying to develop a public gathering space for festivals and community events on a vacant lot adjacent to the city building. This public area also will feature a train-viewing platform so that visitors can observe the Norfolk Southern rail line that runs through the city.
Workforce development builds opportunities
Through a unique partnership between public and private sectors, the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board drives policy, direction and funding to meet the changing needs of employers and the available labor force. More than 6,800 job-seekers obtained employment in 2016 through these programs, whose oversight is conducted under Barb Stewart, associate director for NKADD’s Workforce Development Division. Five specific industry sectors have been identified as key to the economic health of NKADD’s eight-county region: advanced manufacturing; healthcare; transportation and logistics; information technology, business and nance; and installation, maintenance and repair.
CDBGs boost NKY businesses
Community Development Block Grants are available through NKADD via the Department of Local Government. The funds are available to provide assistance for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities, providing infrastructure and/or improving community facilities and services. Communities can devote these funds to a range of activities that best serve their particular development priorities. These projects must meet certain national objectives, such as preventing blight or meeting urgent community development needs. An example CDBG project occurred when more than $500,000 was used to increase wastewater capacity in Florence to accommodate an expansion at the L’Oreal manufacturing plant that added 126 new jobs. l