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LibertyTown receives $125,000 grant from EDA
Fredericksburg’s Economic Development Authority voted today to make a $25,000 annual grant for the next five years to LibertyTown Arts Workshop.
The vote was taken after a closed session with LibertyTown owner Dan Finnegan to review the business’s financial records. Although the actual grant wasn’t talked about or publicly explained when the vote was taken at the meeting, Finnegan said in an interview afterward that this is a “sustaining grant,” or a grant meant to keep him in business.
Finnegan estimates that LibertyTown brings 2,000 to 3,000 people a month downtown, but “We have struggled to make that a really healthy financial business.”
Under the terms of a performance agreement that will govern the five-year grant, Finnegan must:
- sign a new five-year lease with building owner Mary Weber Stoner Taylor, with an option to renew for another five years.
- keep operating as a studio and retail outlet for around 50 artists.
- meet with a representative of the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center or other qualified person to develop a business plan, which will be submitted to the EDA.
- make an annual performance report to include annual financial statements, tax returns, a summary of the business’s operations for the prior year and a business plan update for the coming year; the EDA has agreed to keep all of Finnegan’s financial information confidential.
- “take steps to enhance the profitability of the business.”
- continue to participate in First Fridays.
- submit an updated business plan at the end of the fourth year of the agreement, with financial projections for the next three years, and a plan for keeping the business going.
- pay all city taxes.
This is part of the EDA’s JumpStart grant program, so it’s made from the fees private businesses pay to access tax-free bonds for which the EDA serves as a conduit, not from city tax dollars.