Local event venue hopeful as REOPEN Downtown Dayton Grant Program rolls out

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – More help is on the way for businesses impacted by COVID-19, as the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Dayton Partnership have announced the REOPEN downtown Dayton grants.

The grant program will award between $2,000 and $10,000 to downtown Dayton businesses as a form of gap funding. In a press release, the DACC said the awards are intended to help businesses keep their doors open and lights on until their revenue sources recover.

The owner of The Brightside Music and Event Venue on E. Third St. said the application process is one of the easiest and most streamlined processes she’s seen.

Carli Dixon, the venue’s owner, said The Brightside normally sees three to four events a week and they range from weddings to wrestling matches. But their last event was March 10, so they’re going to have to get creative to reopen responsibly.

“Possibly utilize a projector in our parking lot and possibly an FM transmitter so we can put things into people’s car stereos and do something that’s more of a drive up experience,” said Dixon. “Picture a wedding that’s a drive-in movie.”

But Dixon said before they can do that, they have to keep their light on so she was thrilled to apply on Thursday for the REOPEN Downtown Dayton grant.

“Everyone’s trying in any way that they can to help us and they’re valiant efforts, but if they don’t help you at the end, they don’t help you,” said Dixon. “When your community speaks to you as an individual, it does mean a lot and it is the difference of whether or not in a year we’re still standing or not.”

Dixon said even getting $2,000 could help tremendously during this time.

“None of us have built businesses that assume $200 touchless hand sanitizer dispensers at however many doors you have, and $40 per gallon of hand sanitizer, and extra cleaning before and after each event,” said Dixon.

The DACC said the program was kick started by a $500,000 donation from the CareSource foundation.

Then the Downtown Dayton Partnership chipped in $200,000.

Thursday morning, Chris Kershner with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce told 2 NEWS, it’s vital that they do what they can to help small businesses reopen and bring vibrancy back to Dayton.

“We have $700,000 that we’re going to be able to grant out to small businesses in downtown Dayton,” said Kershner. “All they have to do is go to reopendayton.com, and all the information is on the website.”

Kershner said the turnaround on requests and approvals will be quick, with a goal of awarding and distributing funds within a few weeks of the closure of the application window.

“They may have loans coming in, they could have federal assistance coming in, but they need a little bit of gap funding to help get them through to when those other funds come in and that’s exactly what the REOPEN downtown Dayton grant is here to do,” said Kershner.

The deadline for business owners to apply for the grant is Friday, May 22.

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