Ferndale Uses COVID Relief Funds to Jump Start Downtown
Thanks to an infusion of COVID relief funds, the City is launching a number of initiatives aimed at improving Ferndale’s downtown. Of the approximately $4.2 million the City is set to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), here are some of the ways the City is using that money to support our downtown:
Main Street Program: The City has allocated $400,000 to establish a Main Street Program, complete with events, programing and a paid executive director, to pursue economic development for our downtown core. These seed funds would help the program get established however it is intended to be self-sustaining in the following years. Rather than relying on the previous volunteer efforts of the Ferndale Downtown Association, this program can promote redevelopment efforts, beautification and bring fresh economic activity to Ferndale’s downtown core.
In addition to this seed funding for the Main Street Program, the City has provided an additional $450,000 to the program, including $200,000 for grants or loans to incoming businesses that will support Downtown revitalization, $200,000 for grants or loans to existing businesses which seek to grow or change in a manner that supports revitalization or who undertake improvements to respond to COVID-19, and $50,000 for Downtown beautification efforts and/or matching funds for beautification efforts that the Program may wish to pursue.
Business Interruption Grants: The City has allocated $200,000 to the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce to distribute as business interruption grants for Ferndale businesses impacted by COVID-related closures. The city anticipates that a majority of the grants will be targeted at businesses with 20 or less employees.
Supporting the Community Resource Center: The City has allocated $400,000 to the Ferndale Community Service Cooperative to hire a full-time executive director and expand services to the city’s most vulnerable who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. This is also a seed money investment with the goal of the Cooperative becoming self-sustaining at the conclusion of this grant.
The Cooperative is currently working with our state legislators to secure additional funding for a community navigator position that would help those experiencing hardship navigate local resources and services.
All of these initiatives are supported by COVID relief funds and do not impact the City’s general fund.
“While all of these efforts are worthwhile on their own merits, taken together, they are an unprecedented investment in Ferndale’s future,” said Mayor Greg Hansen. “While the impacts of the pandemic are still being felt, the decisions we make today put us on the path to come roaring back.”