Council members working on new grant that could save small businesses battling infrastructure issues

The grant is in the early stages, receiving support from council members in Districts 1, 2, 6, 7 and 10.

SAN ANTONIO – Council members are working on a permanent and citywide grant to ensure no other small businesses are harmed by major infrastructure projects.

For the last couple of years, business owners on the St Mary’s Strip are all feeling the pain of construction.

The Squeezebox owner Aaron Pena is closing his bar after seven years of business.

“We certainly never envisioned going out because of something that’s beyond our control, which is, in my opinion, a mishandled city infrastructure project,” Pena said.

District One Councilwoman Sukh Kaur said council members are working to bring lasting and citywide relief through a permanent construction grant fund for any major infrastructure project.

“Our city council really wants to work hard to make sure that they are being supported and preventing any negative impact so that we don’t have situations like this occurring again when the next project is up,” Kaur said.

Kaur said council members are learning from the previous infrastructure grant program.

Business owners argued that the grant was inaccessible to those who needed it most.

Kaur said small business owners can now weigh in on the application process.

“We are bringing folks that are being hurt to the table to ensure they are setting. What are the metrics that we need to be looking at so that you are applicable for funding,” Kaur said.

For now, the grant is in the early stages, receiving support from council members in Districts 1, 2, 6, 7 and 10.

Council is off for July, but in August, it will be up for discussion.

Below is a copy of the Council Consideration request:

Creation of a Grant Fund to Aid Small Businesses Effected by Construction Delays by Cody King on Scribd

Although Squeezebox is closing, Pena told KSAT he is partnering with Bar Loretta and opening a new bar on the opposite side of the St. Mary’s street in Southtown.

“Very soon we’ll be opening our new space in Southtown, conveniently located across my other space Amor Eterno. But now I’ve teamed up with the folks from Bar Loretta, and we’re opening a new cocktail bar with a full kitchen, and we’re really excited and we hope to open in about two weeks,” Pena said.

About the Authors:

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.