In order to help small businesses adjust to new public health requirements as commercial districts reopen for business, PSEG Long Island is encouraging chambers of commerce and business …
In order to help small businesses adjust to new public health requirements as commercial districts reopen for business, PSEG Long Island is encouraging chambers of commerce and business improvement districts to apply for a Main Street revitalization grant.
As of last week, PSEG’s John Keating said five chambers’ applications have been approved, and several others are amid discussion for up to $5,000 of reimbursed funds for outdoor amenities and items in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 while allowing businesses to be open and residents to dine/shop.
“We created the Main Street Revitalization Program because we know that small businesses are the backbone of Long Island’s economy. If they thrive, we all thrive,” said Keating, manager of economic development for PSEG Long Island. “The pandemic has affected businesses in many ways, and the intent of this program is to help them succeed as our communities reopen for business.”
The Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce has submitted an application and is one of many chambers that is currently in discussion with PSEG, hashing out the ins and outs. David Kennedy, the chamber’s executive director, expressed that the $5,000 (maximum) would be spread too thin if all local businesses within Patchogue Village were solicited regarding this.
He said that the chamber has decided to focus on the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, which has yet to open its doors. Before 1998, Patchogue had three restaurants in the village. There are over 40 restaurants now, and Kennedy said that the theatre served as a catalyst in transforming Patchogue.
“The theatre is an important partner in making the downtown thrive,” Kennedy said, referring to the theatre as the true economic engine of Patchogue. “We need to keep that theatre up and running. It would be a huge blow to Main Street if the theatre is not able to operate — a significant detriment to society.”
Kennedy said that the chamber is working alongside the theatre to incorporate outdoor dining there. He said the fund would reimburse the purchase of chairs, tables, security equipment, and barricades.
“It is so key to downtown Patchogue,” he said. “It would be a great way to let the theatre know how important they really are.”
Kennedy said offering the grant to any chamber or business improvement district in Suffolk County is generous of PSEG.
“It shows a nice commitment to the community,” he said. “We are going to take full advantage of it.”
The Medford Chamber also put forth that it is interested in submitting an application but has not done so yet, according to chamber president Paul Donoghue. However, considering the chamber’s limited ability to meet as the community moves further along the reopening process, there has not been an opportunity for the chamber as a body to discuss the matter in depth.
“I want to have a discussion with all the board members first. We will see if we can go through it with the members,” Donoghue said, adding that Medford does not have as centralized of an economic district as Patchogue, for example. “We need to find out which businesses would benefit most from it.”
Keating noted that there is no cemented deadline for applications, but envisions the program to be available for roughly 90 days past June 18, when the grant was announced.