Orange Park, FL

Orange Park finds little interest in business improvement micro-grant

Julie Morgan

The Town of Orange Park has decided to table a months-long discussion about a business improvement micro-grant.

The grant was supposed to be given to businesses to make improvements such as landscape beautification, painting, and pressure washing.

The Economic and Community Development Committee met Tuesday to discuss the results of a survey sent to town businesses to gauge their interest in a micro-grant.

Twelve percent of businesses responded to the survey; that’s 42 out of 350. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would be interested in receiving a micro-grant. Less than 32 percent said they would be interested in contributing to a privately funded grant.

Members of the committee said those numbers didn’t add up.

“Look how many people said, ‘no.’ To me, the results of this survey didn’t bode well for interest. The results are not showing there’s an interest,” said Linda Knapp.

The $250 micro-grant would be funded by local businesses, not the Town of Orange Park.

Councilman Doug Benefield said as a business owner himself, he wasn’t sure if he’d take the time to apply for the grant. “How much is my time worth?” he said.

At previous meetings, the committee talked through the grant process, which included an application, meeting with the director of economic and community development, and getting approved by the committee.

Committee member Daniel Cobreiro said it’s too cumbersome.

“As a business owner, if all I had to do was fill out an application, submit images of the work I did, and then cross my fingers and see if 250 bucks shows up in my mailbox, I think this is something that would be successful, said Cobreiro. “So long as we find funding.”

Ultimately, the five members decided to put this initiative on the back burner. The next meeting is set for Thursday, April 6, at 5:30 pm.

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I cover Clay County in North Florida. I write about what matters to you in Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, Penny Farms, Keystone Heights, Fleming Island, etc. Got a hot tip? Tell me about it!

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