Friday, April 27, 2001

Taft asks government for discounted riot loans

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Ohio Gov. Bob Taft on Thursday asked the federal government to make discounted loans available for businesses that suffered substantial economic damage from Cincinnati's riots earlier this month.

        Only damaged businesses having trouble getting loans elsewhere would be eligible for discounted loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

        SBA officials are expected to arrive in Cincinnati next week to assess damage; the program kicks in only after the SBA determines at least five businesses have suffered substantial economic loss.

        “We have enough data to indicate we can qualify for this,” said Dale Shipley, director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

        Eligible businesses can get loans with a 4 percent interest rate to pay debt, damage or other costs. Businesses qualify for the loans only after failing to get credit from other sources at a reasonable rate.

        “We don't want to give up on them and let them go out of business,” Mr. Shipley said.

        More than 140 businesses in 13 neighborhoods were damaged from the riots that erupted after Cincinnati police shot an unarmed black man in an Over-the-Rhine alley.

        Businesses can get more information about government assistance at a newly-established Business Assistance Service Center, located at 1634 Central Parkway in Over-the-Rhine.


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