The Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce supports economic development efforts through its revitalization loan program.
The program was established in 2008 to encourage small businesses to reinvest in buildings downtown, but since has expanded to include properties located throughout the city. The program is offered in partnership with Badger Bank, Fort Community Credit Union and PremierBank, each of which have committed to support an aggregate fund of $250,000.
Business property owners may apply for up to $50,000 interest-free for 24 months, to enhance exterior improvements to retail or commercial properties. All work must comply with city codes and ordinances, and borrowers must meet acceptable credit standards and provide collateral if deemed necessary.
In addition, the property owner must maintain the majority of his or her banking relationship with at least one of the participating lenders. Loans granted to any one borrower for any single building may not be less than $5,000, and the maximum loan term cannot exceed 10 years.
Projects are selected through a competitive application process with attention given to the degree to which the project contributes to the property’s preservation, restoration or maintenance, its location and historic value, the scope of the project, and whether the project design blends well with surrounding structures. The City of Fort Atkinson’s Comprehensive Master Plan also is considered by the selection committee before final approval.
Potential applicants can contact the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce for an application, which then is submitted for review to the chamber’s Economic Development Committee. Upon approval, the applicant then can complete the necessary paperwork through one of the participating lending institutions.
The Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 244 N. Main St.
A full directory of chamber members is available at www.fortchamber.com.