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Buckeye Council approves two business grants

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BUCKEYE — Several Valley municipalities have set aside funds for beautification projects that will improve the look of central commercial districts.

Buckeye is one of those municipalities. Its Economic Development Catalyst Program is in its seventh year, and last week, the Buckeye City Council made its first award of fiscal year 2022 to a pair of recipients.

Council unanimously approved two applications at the recommendation of staff.

Calvert Oil will receive about $33,500 to complete an exterior painting project on several buildings and 11 gas storage tanks and associated piping.

Alatrash Investments LLC, will receive $50,000 to help develop a parking area behind the historic Ware Building in downtown Buckeye along Monroe Avenue.

Economic Development Coordinator Tennille Hiller said some city businesses are reeling from revenue losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We did notice several businesses said they have not completely recovered from the pandemic,” Hiller said. “We think that had an impact on how many applications we received.”

The city only received four applications this cycle, after a request for proposal was issued in August, with the Calvert Oil and Alatrash Investments projects being the only two recommended for Council approval. Buckeye has a $250,000 overall budget for the project for all of Fiscal 2022, so there will still be about $171,000 left for the rest of the year.

In the program’s first year — fiscal 2015 — the Buckeye News and Buckeye Funeral Home were among the seven grant recipients. There were eight recipients in fiscal 2017.

In fiscal 2021, the American Legion and Odyssey School each had two of the seven approved projects.

The Catalyst Program is intended to promote the rehabilitation of existing commercial, industrial or mixed-use properties by offering as much as $50,000 of city funding per project toward improvement costs.

The program is intended to be for properties within the city that serve a public purpose. Each project must involve a match from the business owner of at least 25% of the total cost.

Fees can be included, but only those fees associated with a project that serves a public purpose. These properties must have applicable zoning or be rezoned before being eligible.

Alatrash will triple the investment, putting in about $150,000 toward rehabbing the area, which will include paving, sidewalks, approaches, storm drains and other associated parking items.

The program is similar to ones used by other Valley cities, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The town of Gilbert and city of Surprise are both engaged in an ongoing business aid program funded by the Arizona Community Foundation.

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