May 06--The town of Lyons has received the "Small Community of the Year" award from the Economic Development Commission of Colorado for its post-flood business recovery efforts.
Working through two grant programs, the town was able to put approximately $80,000 into the hands of small business owners affected by last September's floods to help them rebuild.
A year and a half ago, Lyons had applied for $47,000 in loans from a fund set up by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help rural communities. Putting up $6,000 in matching funds, the town was notified it had been approved for the funding in early summer 2013, said Mayor John O'Brien.
"Then the flood happened and I called the USDA and said we need to get that in one lump sum," said O'Brien, a former president of the Lyons Chamber of Commerce and the town's Economic Development Commission.
But the USDA's response was that protocol prohibited that quick of a turnaround for that particular funding pool. The agency did suggest that the town form a committee and set up its own business recovery fund, based on donations. That's just what they did, O'Brien said.
Starting with a $16,500 contribution from the Longmont Community Foundation and $10,000 from Oskar Blues' CAN'd Aid, "the rest were all individual contributions, ranging from $100 to $10,000," O'Brien said.
The Lyons Economic Gardening Group screened applications, and the loan committee set up its own loan terms: The prime interest rate, minus 1 percent, with the length of the loan being up to 10 years with two years of no-interest payments.
The Lyons Fork, Smokin' Dave's BBQ & Taphouse and the Lyons Dairy Bar were three of the businesses that took advantage of the fund.
Contact Times-Call staff writer Tony Kindelspire at 303-684-5291 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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