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Here are the McLean County businesses splitting $4.4 million in state grant money
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Here are the McLean County businesses splitting $4.4 million in state grant money

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BLOOMINGTON — More than 100 McLean County businesses were awarded grants from an Illinois grant aimed at helping small business owners who faced losses during the pandemic.

Illinois’ Business Interruption Grant program was the largest state program of its kind, but only about 20%, or 8,974 applicants, received a grant.

A total of $4,365,000 was awarded to businesses in McLean County, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the General Assembly created the BIG program using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, money to provide $580 million in economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.

Statewide the average grant award was $30,000. DCEO Director Erin Guthrie said this federal funding has been exhausted, but the department continues to look for ways to help businesses statewide.

“We know that businesses are hurting and we wish that Congress would provide more relief,” Guthrie said. “This virus has shut down so much of our economy, and that is a struggle for every person and business across our state. The other thing I would say is, we're constantly working with our federal counterparts, with other sources in ways that we can creatively provide relief to those businesses.”

According to DCEO, the second round of BIG funding focused on downstate businesses impacted, with specific emphasis on music and performing arts centers, museums, movie theaters and other entertainment venues struggling with the ongoing COVID restrictions.

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“Pandemic-related shutdowns and other hardships are lasting much longer than anyone expected, and our small businesses are continuing to fight hard to adapt and survive,” Brady said. “These grants will help many businesses in our communities hang on.”

Nearly half of all BIG funds, or more than $133 million dollars, went to restaurants and bars, according to DCEO.

The second round of BIG funding distributed $3,825,000 to businesses in McLean County.

Awarded the highest amount locally, these seven businesses will receive $150,000 from the BIG program:

  • Four Seasons Health Club
  • Holiday Inn & Suites - Bloomington
  • Residence Inn
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites
  • Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Bloomington-Normal
  • Medici in Normal

Sarah Mansur of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.

IN THEIR WORDS: Midwest elected officials react to U.S. Capitol breach

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.

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