Inside The City of Blackwell's Small Business Loan

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell Municipal Authority on Thursday approved a Small Business Forgivable Loan Fund for Blackwell's essential and non-essential business facing the coronavirus pandemic. The program was approved at Thursday night's City Council meeting. 
The application form for a loan is available at
The small business loan is designed to provide immediate relief to Blackwell, Oklahoma businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus.

The purposes of the program are to: retain small local businesses during and after the crisis, retain employment during and after the crisis, and ensure the continued provision of goods and services for Blackwell’s residents.
The funds used for this program are coming from the Main Street Beautification Project. The City Council agreed that the beautification program “paled in importance” to the current pandemic, which is impacting businesses throughout the city.
Members of the BMA agreed that the program will “promote and retain sales tax-producing businesses and other businesses providing employment opportunities in the City of Blackwell.”

The program will also “assist in maintaining the continuity of the business in Blackwell, to assist residents in obtaining food and beverages during the COVID-19 pandemic, and perhaps for one 1 month thereafter, and to ensure that both essential and non-essential businesses in Blackwell continue to operate after the restrictions are lifted.

The funds received may be used for rent, utilities, employees’ salaries, and other businesses expenses consistent with the continued operation of the business. They may also be used to help ensure the businesses’ re-openings after the restrictions are lifted.
The program will culminate in a potentially forgivable loan to the business served. The contingency will be that the business must remain open to the public until at least May 31, 2020. For non-essential businesses now required to be closed, business owners must promise to use their best efforts to reopen the business after the restrictions are lifted and continue such business operations for at least 45 days.

The maximum forgivable loan amount available for essential businesses is $2,500. The maximum forgivable loan amount available for a non-essential business is $1,500.
The BMA will consider the following priorities when awarding forgivable loans: The number of jobs that the business sustains during a normal business cycle (pre-COVID-19); whether the business demonstrates that it has lost a significant share (50% or more) of revenue due to COVID-19; and whether the business has operated consistently for two or more years, except during the lockdown order period for non-essential businesses.

Priorities are restaurants serving food and beverages, light retail outlets, florists, and businesses promoting tourism to Blackwell. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. City officials ask that applicants be patient, as officials are expecting a high volume of requests.

Based on applications, the BMA may choose to add further priorities or change eligibility criteria in the subsequent weeks. Qualifying businesses must be located within the city limits of Blackwell, Oklahoma.