(July 12, 2013) An Ocean City business was the first in Worcester County to benefit from impact funds generated by the Casino at Ocean Downs.
On Thursday morning, a $64,000 check was presented to Kite Loft owners Jay and Mary Lynn Knerr at their new location in the 67th Street Town Center.
“We’re using it for build-out expenses,” Jay Knerr said Thursday. “We borrowed money and will pay it back in seven years.”
The funds will be used for lighting, HVAC, furniture, fixtures and “everything involved in putting the store together, so it was truly wonderful this loan program was available,” Knerr said.
The loan represents the first small business loan awarded through Worcester County Economic Development and generated by revenue from slot machines. Revenues for this loan program are generated from 1.5 percent of all yearly proceeds at Maryland casinos as required by state law.
“We’re excited with the loan program and to get money generated by the casino back into our community,” Worcester County Economic Development Director Bill Badger said before the check presentation. “It lets us put the money back to work for us. We hope to place about $400,000 by the end of the year.”
Badger had been working on the loan program for several months and continues to work to find eligible businesses that could benefit from a loan.
“It’s been a priority for me,” he said. “I’m glad we can help iconic businesses like the Kite Loft off to a good start. It’s all about jobs and business growth.”
Many Worcester County businesses are eligible for loans, ranging from $25,000 and up, because the county filed an application in April with the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation for the funds. Steve Primosch, vice president of financial services for the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, was present at Thursday’s check presentation.
Loans are available for companies with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenues averaging $35 million or fewer dollars during a three-year period. Interest rates range from 2 percent to 5.25 percent. Both fixed and variable rates are offered and the loans may be term loans, lines of credit or commercial mortgages.
Fifty percent of the loans are targeted to companies within a 10-mile radius of the state’s casinos. The remaining 50 percent will be targeted to eligible small businesses outside the 10-mile radius.
Business owners interested in learning more about the loan program will find detailed guidelines online at www.chooseworcester.org/printables/Fund_Guidelines.pdf.