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Martinsburg businesses will benefit from grant

March 21, 2001

Martinsburg businesses will benefit from grant



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


Downtown businesses soon will be able to benefit from a $100,000 grant awarded to Main Street Martinsburg by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency.

Almost two-thirds of the money, $65,000, would be in the form of low interest loans for business fix-up projects that cost between $500 and $5,000.

"That complements our existing program of loans that go from $5,000 to $25,000," said Nan Stevens, a board member of Main Street Martinsburg and area manager for the West Virginia Housing Development Authority. "We see this money going to help meet code requirements, building facades, sidewalk repairs, things like that."

"This is for businesses that don't need that much money," Main Street Martinsburg Director Tracie Ford said of the existing pool of money.

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A second part of the program will earmark $15,000 for businesses to help with their signs. The money will be handed out at 50 percent of the cost of the sign or $500, whichever is greater, Stevens said.

Another $20,000 will be used by Main Street Martinsburg to provide technical assistance and training that will benefit businesses, Ford said. Main Street Martinsburg currently puts on seminars and other training sessions.

The organization is also preparing for a major fund-raiser in early May.

Playing off the show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," Main Street Martinsburg is sponsoring "Who Wants to Be A Downtown Winner?"

Instead of Regis Philbin, actor David Selby, who has appeared on "Dark Shadows" and "Falcon Crest," will serve as the emcee, said Becky Linton, board president of Main Street Martinsburg.

Eight teams of eight players will compete for the right to answer questions posed by Selby. The participants will come from among the sponsors, who are paying to compete. Tickets will be sold to raise money.

Among the 64 contestants will be eight students from the three Berkeley County high schools. A scholarship is being offered if one of them answers a specific number of questions.

-- "Who Wants to be a Downtown Winner? will be held May 5 in the Martinsburg High School auditorium.

For more information, call 1-304-264-4503.

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