SCRANTON, Pa. — Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti joined leaders of community organizations at Vincenzo's Pizzeria on Tuesday. The city just opened grant applications for two programs designed to help small business owners.
One program offers small businesses up to $10,000 to pay for improvements to the facade. The businesses would also have to put up some money.
"A 25 percent match, that's huge. You can get a lot of work done for a relatively small investment from your business. So, take advantage, spruce up your building. It's going to benefit you. It's going benefit the community," said Todd Pousley, neighborhood revitalization director for NeighborWorks.
Vincenzo Cicco has owned the restaurant along North Main Avenue and was able to help fund the expansion of the patio with similar funding. His son Antonio designed the project, and they are proud to see new life brought to the city with revitalization projects.
"That's what we were looking for. Hopefully, if we invested some money, other people would too. We're really looking forward to the parking lot being cleaned up across the street too. It's a big deal for us. For a lot of years, we've been waiting for that," Vincenzo said.
"When we did the facade for Lynn Sandy's Bakery, we started to see other businesses put in new flowers, add new lighting, just really enhance the curb appeal of their businesses that were adjacent to it," said Chrissy Manuel, community revitalization director for United Neighborhood Centers.
The city has just over $1 million available in grant money for people considering opening their own businesses.
"We have seen a real influx of new businesses, and many of them started on very small budgets with limited resources. So having additional programming and financial resources through the city of Scranton will be a significant help," said Leslie Collins, Scranton Tomorrow president and CEO.
Scranton is funding the grant programs with money from the federal government's American Rescue Plan.
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