Monday, September 23, 2019
St. John the Baptist Parish – The deadline for applications for the Placed-Based Investment Loan Program is fast approaching. Applications are due one week from today, on September 30, 2019. The program offers 0% interest loans to small businesses and non-profits for targeted commercial redevelopment projects. The first round of the Program has approximately $350,000 available to make loans between $5,000 and $50,000, with up to 40% of each loan eligible for forgiveness.
To ensure project eligibility, there is a two-step application process. A Preliminary Project Request verifies the proposed improvements are eligible under the Program. Once project eligibility is established, the applicant submits a Loan Application that includes financial underwriting. The Preliminary Project Request form is available on the Program website: http://sjbparish.com/zoning_general.php?id=2691 .
The Program is primarily focused on improvements to existing establishments that create a positive visual impact with hopes of accelerating economic development activity in the Parish. Three types of projects are eligible for the Placed-Based Investment Loan Program: 1) replacement of commercial signs, 2) reduction and repaving of parking lots with the inclusion of water management features, and 3) façade improvements to historic commercial structures.
Façade improvements projects are limited to the Historic Districts of LaPlace, Reserve, Garyville and River Road (Edgard, Lucy, and Wallace). Sign replacements and parking reductions are targeted along the Major Corridor Overlay District but are also eligible in historic districts. The Major Corridor Overlay District includes the following commercial corridors: Airline Hwy (U.S. 61), Main St (U.S. 51), Belle Terre Blvd (L.A. 8188), and Woodland Drive.
Vacant properties will be considered if the applicant can demonstrate a plan to open a business in the improved location. While residential properties are not eligible for the program, mixed-use properties that include a commercial use are eligible to apply. As each project proposal will be unique, the Program will support a variety of projects which provide the largest impact to the Parish. The number of projects funded will depend on the number of proposals submitted, the estimated costs, and the anticipated impacts.
Parish President Natalie Robottom aims to encourage local economic development and resilience by supporting small businesses and property owners, stimulate private investment around key target corridors, and empower local businesses with resources to grow in accordance with the goals of the Parish’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. The cumulative impact of these activities should resonate with customers and clients, increasing foot traffic for businesses and encouraging additional investment in the targeted areas.
All applications are due by Monday, September 30, 2019. Completed applications can be submitted by mail, email, fax, or in person. See the Preliminary Project Request for submission details.
Program staff is available at the St. John Parish Government Complex on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on Thursdays from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. There are also drop in office hours at the Roland Borne, Sr. Memorial Library in Edgard on Tuesdays from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Applicants can also set up a meeting with St. John Planning and Zoning Department to discuss potential projects.
Interested applicants can learn more about the program by visiting the Parish website at www.sjbparish.com. For project-specific questions, contact St. John Planning and Zoning Department by phone at 985-651-5565. For general questions about the program, please contact South Central Planning and Development Commission by phone at 1-800-630-3791, option 3 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.