City Council approves microenterprise loans

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The city council approved microenterprise loans Thursday to three Murfreesboro businesses. Recess Playroom, DreamStart and The Ascent will receive the loans after an 18-month process with the city.

Murfreesboro Community Development Director John Callow said the loans will directly impact our local economy.

"Part of the requirement is they are going to have to create jobs in the first six months," Callow told the council.

The loans are part of a federal program by the Housing and Urban Development to help low to moderate income small business owners. Murfreesboro has been given $100,000 to set up the program.

Each applicant must complete months of review through the Tennessee Small Business Development Center of Murfreesboro to be considered.

The council also announced the planned construction of sidewalks and a drainage system South of Broad St. and North to Maney Ave. The project is expected to take 2 years and cost $4.2 million.

"I know there will be some construction and inconvenience," Mayor Tommy Bragg warned residents, "but I know people will be happy to see the changes in the days to come."

The city also rejected an application to operate Shadtree Packaging on S. Maney Ave.

The applicant filed for the certificate of compliance in October, but residents, including the pastor of a nearby church, asked the council to reject the certificate saying the presence of the store would disrupt the neighborhood.

The city council deferred deliberation on the application and then amended the law to prevent liquor stores within a certain distance of churches. The council took up deliberation of the application Thursday and denied it under the new law.

The city also helped out builders who have construction contracts with the city. Compensation to builders will now be a lump sum amount instead of a percentage of construction.

City Manager Rob Lyons said the drop in construction costs have left builders the city contracts with receiving less than the market would bear in good times and that area builders need a helping hand.

"When the economy took a down turn, we saw substantial cost savings on these contracts," Lyons told the council. "They would be unfairly penalized."

Because of lower construction costs, the city has saved an estimated $4.2 million over what the costs were projected to be under more optimistic economic forecasts.
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Business, City, DreamStart, John Callow, Recess Playroom, Rob Lyons, The Ascent, Tommy Bragg
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