Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion
                                Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10.

Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10.

Kenai launches 2 more grant programs

New aid targets smaller businesses, commercial fishing

The City of Kenai has launched two more grant programs to offer financial assistance in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These grants are aimed at smaller businesses and commercial fishing operations that may have missed out on the first round of funds.

July 1, the Kenai City Council approved two new grant programs: one for businesses that have a gross annual revenue of between $25,000 and $50,000, and another for Kenai residents who have an Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission permit.

Applicants will be eligible for a $1,000 grant, drawn from the $7.7 million in federal funding that the city is set to receive through the federal coronavirus relief package. The application period is open now and will close Aug. 30.

“We want to provide plenty of time for permit holders in the commercial fisheries, to ensure they will have sufficient opportunity to participate,” City Manager Paul Ostrander said in a July 13 press release. “The council supported the additional grant program for smaller business owners, who also need some help getting through the financial hit just as much as larger operations.”

Commercial fishing permit holders are required to have at least $10,000 in landings in 2019 in order to receive the funds. As of this year there are 272 Kenai residents who have commercial fishing permits, according to data from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.

The first round of grants established by the city as part of its COVID-19 response were aimed at local businesses and nonprofits with gross annual revenues of at least $50,000.

At least 186 businesses and nonprofits received nearly $2 million in assistance through these grants, but some entities who needed the assistance were left out because of the eligibility criteria. The application window for these grants remains open until July 17.

Project Lead Larry Persily said in an email on Monday that while the first round of grants used the $3 million that the City Council designated for small business relief, these new grants will draw from the $900,000 that was set aside for individual community assistance.

The city provides information on the grants program as well as an application form on their website, www.kenai.city.

Applicants can email Persily at lpersily@kenai.city or call 907-283-8226 for assistance.

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