Jeannette approves $5,000 grants for city businesses
Supply chain issues have not been kind to siblings Jeremy Mock and Denise Ward as they push ahead with renovating a Jeannette property to open Glass City Cafe.
But the new business got a $5,000 dose of kindness from Jeannette council on Tuesday to help with improvements of the Clay Avenue building. Mock, of Philadelphia, a Penn-Trafford graduate, said he and Ward, of Jeannette, have been contending with the need for a new roof and HVAC improvements at the former Nancy’s Grille & Coffee Shop.
“This money is going to be huge in trying to help us jump start the construction and get the doors open,” he said.
City council approved $5,000 for each of 22 small businesses out of 2020 Community Development Block Grant supplemental funding designated for coronavirus pandemic response. Chief fiscal officer Ethan Keedy said the city received 37 applications, some of which were rejected because they failed to provide financial information and owed the city money.
Grant recipients will be required to submit invoices to the city for payment. The money must be spent by September.
“We’re putting $110,000 back in the community,” Keedy said.
The applicants were narrowed down by the impact the pandemic had on them, who would retain the most jobs with the help and how they planned to use the funding, he said. Details of the 22 remaining applicants were presented to council for approval with the business names removed.
“We had no input,” Councilman Chuck Highlands said. “We have no idea who these people are.”
The $5,000 is a big deal for Josh Rittenour who opened Rittenour Floral on Gaskill Avenue in late March. He said there are building repairs to complete and other items to buy for the shop.
“It’s an honor that they accepted my application, and it just shows how much they care about the community,” he said. “I feel just so grateful. Things are hard right now, (but) we’ve got a lot of support from the community just opening up. I’m happy to be a part of rebuilding the community.”
Mock, a veteran Marine who is in the Navy Reserve, said he and Ward purchased the property in January. Glass City Cafe is focusing on local and veteran-owned suppliers for products as well as contractors. They are hoping to open the shop in July.