Deputy Secretary for Business Finance of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Carol Kilko joined Vice President of Economic Development at the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) Melissa Stone, Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick, and Millworks owner Josh Kesler to highlight the assistance made available through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP).
“CHIRP funding is so critical because it goes directly into the hands of neighborhood favorites and staple spots, like the Millworks, to support moving forward in recovery from the pandemic,” said Deputy Secretary Kilko. “After a challenging year this assistance couldn’t be timelier, and it will play a major role in helping the restaurant and hospitality industry move forward and continue to serve communities across the state.”
Last year, Governor Tom Wolf secured $145 million in funding support businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the commonwealth has worked with counties and economic development partners to quickly send assistance to the hospitality industry.
State funding has already been provided to all 67 counties.
“We achieved our goals of being as inclusive and fair as possible with the disbursement of $3.1 million to eligible Dauphin County businesses. Our hope is this funding will serve as a crutch to business owners until tables become full once again,” said Commissioner Hartwick.
Counties are administering the funding through one or more designated Community Economic Development Organizations (CEDO) or Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), which began processing applications from businesses in each county on March 15. Funding must be provided to businesses by July 15, 2021.
“The CHIRP grant program is providing much-needed relief to the financial strain our hospitality businesses have experienced during the pandemic,” said Melissa Stone, Vice President of Economic Development at the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. “The stories of hardship experienced by applicants are saddening, but also motivational. Thankfully, many businesses are on their way to recovery, and we are looking for any opportunity we can to help strengthen our region’s economic revival.”
The Millworks is a restaurant in Midtown Harrisburg with a focus on local and sustainable ingredients and the building also houses studio spaces for local artists to work and showcase their art. The restaurant received $30,000 in assistance through CHIRP.
“The county did a remarkable job distributing funds in a year of great turmoil and uncertainty in our industry,” said Millworks owner Joshua Kelser. “We really appreciate the straightforward approach and the eager willingness to help. These funds helped stabilize operations just in the
nick of time.”