Five applications for the $60,000 Gypsum Business Grant Program were turned in by Friday’s deadline.
The town partnered with the Gypsum Chamber of Commerce to launch the new economic incentive in early April.
Grant applicants are required to be members of the Gypsum Chamber and are eligible for grants up to $10,000 in two categories — site enhancement or economic development. Applications in excess of $10,000 may be considered for projects that provide exceptional benefit.
“We want to start this whole program off right, so it might be good that we only have a handful of applicants in this first round,” said Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll. “We’ll see what works and what we need to tweak.”
On Monday, Shroll said he and the Gypsum Economic Development Committee have not had time to look through the applications and could only describe the basic nature of the proposals. The awards will be announced in July.
Only one business, located on Red Table Drive, applied for the site-enhancement grant.
The other four applications are for the economic development grant. Two of those businesses already exist and are looking to expand. The other two are hoping to establish themselves in Gypsum. The two established businesses that applied are on Cooley Mesa Road and on Railroad Avenue. The other two business proposals are looking at locations near the airport. One of those plans indicates the business would have about 25 employees and bring 50 jobs to the area, Shroll said.
Shroll didn’t know much at all about the other start-up application.
“That was the only one that didn’t have a pre-application meeting with us before submitting their proposal, so I don’t know anything about it at all yet,” he said.
A pre-application meeting was a requirement stated in the grant application.
Shroll said the Economic Development Committee might offer another round of grants in the fall if there is money left after this first round.
The application says site enhancement grants will be for “improving the appearance of individual businesses, which helps to provide an improved image for the town’s business community as a whole.” The first guideline for site enhancement applicants says “preference will be given to site improvements that provide the most significant visual improvement over current conditions as seen from public streets and trails. All properties located in commercially zones areas are eligible to apply and applicants must be in good standing with the town.”
The economic development grant is “designed to provide funding for businesses that make capital investments that assist the town in meeting overall economic development goals, which include adding local jobs, providing a unique amenity and a regional customer draw, adding vitality to the town core or other commercial district and diversifying the town’s economic base.”
When the program launched, Gypsum Town Council members debated the requirement that applicants had to be chamber members. Annual membership dues to the Gypsum Chamber are $120.
“For someone getting $10,000, being a chamber member would show a reciprocal concern for the community and $120 a year is not prohibitive,” said council member Tom Edwards.
Chamber representatives added that it is also possible to earn a membership by helping with chamber events.
In April, Chamber President Marisa Sato estimated that only a third of Gypsum’s storefront businesses are chamber members.
“We want to start this whole program off right, so it might be good that we only have a handful of applicants in this first round.”
Gypsum Town Manager