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Pott. County residents express concerns regarding business grant program

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

During the public comments portion of the Pottawatomie County Commissioners regular meeting Monday, residents in the area expressed their concerns regarding the Shawnee Forward, Inc. Small Business Relief fund grant program. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Shawnee Forward opened the application process up for local businesses in the county to apply for grants which can be used to sustain their business.  

In addition, Shawnee Forward released what criteria business owners have to meet to qualify for a grant and the rubric the organization will use to determine who receives awarded funds.  

A few residents said they felt as though the rubric for determining what businesses will receive grants favors members of Shawnee Forward and the Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce.  

According to Shawnee Forward, Inc. CEO Rachel Melot, businesses who’re members of Shawnee Forward and Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce receive points for being members.  

“The way the rubric is written Shawnee Forward and Tecumseh Chamber members will score an additional five points,” Melot said.  

Melot explained businesses can score a total of 55 points and to date more businesses who’re not members of Shawnee Forward or the Tecumseh Chamber have applied for the program. 

County Commissioners present during this meeting were District 2 Commissioner Randy Thomas and District 3 Commissioner Eddie Stackhouse, who both listened to the residents but offered no opinion on their statements. 

County Commissioners and the cities of Shawnee and Tecumseh contributed money totaling $155,000 from their CARES Act funds to Shawnee Forward's grant program.  

The deadline for businesses to apply for a grant is Dec. 23. 

Check back for updates.