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Enterprise Zone to the Rescue in Oakland

On January 7th, there was a bit of a riot in downtown Oakland.  The City is planning on working closely with vandalized businesses, and the Enterprise Zone is one of the tools:

At least 35 businesses were damaged in the vandalism and rioting that took place in downtown Oakland on Wednesday. And the City is still counting. If you happened to own one of the stores that got its window smashed, don’t despair. The City, despite its limited resources at this time, is trying to help.

Aliza Gallo, Business Development Services Coordinator for the City of Oakland, says that the City is “attempting to offer affected businesses the appropriate level of financial assistance” through small grants that can be used for deductibles or repairs. The City’s also trying to engage some private lenders to match its contributions. One California Bank has already reached out to the city with an offer of support, says Gallo.

In addition to providing some dollars, she says she’s working to make sure that these businesses are aware of existing grant programs and other avenues where they can get help.

“With building owners, we’re doing one-on-one site visits and telling them about our tentative façade improvement grant programs. We’ll help them if they want to apply for those two at the same time,” she says. “If they’re able to be involved in the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit program, there’s usually a cost for vouchers, we’ll waive that cost. If these businesses have a need, perhaps because of lost revenue or lost working capital, there’s the small business lending vendor Oakland Business Development Corporation.”

The City is going to spend somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 on helping the small businesses that were vandalized on Wednesday night. Gallo doesn’t expect the number of affected properties to exceed 50.

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