Rental help available to downtown businesses

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WATERTOWN — If you’re looking to run a business downtown, the Watertown Trust is ready to help you move into the city’s central business district.

In recent years, the Watertown Local Development Corporation, also known as the Watertown Trust, has offered rental assistance to qualified businesses wanting to open in the downtown business district.

In 2017, the Watertown Trust received $600,000 in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding to run the rental assistance program as part of the $10 million that the city obtained through the state.

But now the Watertown Trust wants to get the message out that the program is still being offered and that the economic development agency is there to help, said Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Trust.

“I think it’s been successful that it’s brought businesses downtown that would not have otherwise came,” he said.

So far, 11 businesses and $144,650 in funding have been approved under the program, with enough funding to help three more businesses, Mr. Rutherford said.

The businesses receive between $637 to $12,000 in annual subsidies.

If approved, businesses receive up to $1,000, or 50% off, their monthly rent during the first year after moving downtown, and $500, or 25% off, the second year as long as the owners sign a three-year lease.

But now the Watertown Trust wants to get the message out that the program is still being offered and the economic development agency is there to help, Mr. Rutherford said.

The Trust recently received the go-ahead to extend offering the program until 2023 but that means recipients won’t receive subsidies for the full two-year terms.

The Lincoln Loft, Pack Rat Flea Market, Fibonacci Art, Mindful Tutoring, Cookie’s Goodies, The Hub, Snides’s Towing, The Eatery, House of Beauty, Lila Rose and Christopher Schenk are the businesses helped by the program.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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