Are the city’s new business grants moving Galesburg IL forward?

Do you see Galesburg’s creation of grants to encourage minority and women-owned businesses, businesses located on the south side of Galesburg, and urban agriculture as driving the city forward?

Stephen Podwojski

Hope scholarships can encourage business development

It’s a very good use of federal money through the American Rescue Plan Act. The money is already there, so there is no drain on the city’s finances. Essentially, these are more tools to “accelerate the growth” of the community. You can view program stipulations and forms through the city’s website. Also, corporate subsidies will not be put to good use for alcohol, gambling, tobacco, or real estate investors buying buildings to rent to others. I reviewed the South Side Occupancy Assistance Program stipulations for the cafe on the south side of Main Street mentioned in the Register Mail article. Alderman White apparently took umbrage at the use of SOAP money in this particular case. Apparently that wasn’t “south side” enough for him. I also noted that the board approved $10,000 for a multi-sport functional center on Grand Avenue. I hope these grants can encourage business development in Galesburg. Like anything, residents will need to support these local businesses. I heard the constant complaints of the inhabitants about the closing or the disappearance of this or that business. If you don’t spend your money there, what do you think will happen? — Stephen Podwojski

Harry Boulkeley

Good for helping small businesses; do not discriminate based on race

Galesburg businesses can use all the encouragement we can give them. Small businesses are the foundation of local economies. It is also admirable to try to attract commercial activity to underserved areas of the city.

Grants should be based on the content of the business plan and not on the skin color of applicants. Good ideas come in all colors and the city should not discriminate based on a candidate’s race.

Urban farming is an interesting idea, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of farming in our area already. A trip to the farmers market will attest to that. When I was young, we had another name for urban agriculture: gardening.

Subsidizing women-owned businesses can be more problematic. If the new Supreme Court justice cannot define what a woman is, how can we expect the administrators of the program to do so? —Harry Bulkley

Galesburg Grants:Galesburg homeowners could be eligible for housing repair grants of up to $4.5,000 through the city

Jeannette Chernin

Grants will move the city forward if people apply

Whether or not these grants move the city forward isn’t really the issue here; the question is whether or not people will apply for these programs and then take them. If people apply for one or a combination of them, they will absolutely improve the city of Galesburg and move it forward.

Most business owners in Galesburg are white males. It would be a total boost for Galesburg if there were more women and minority business owners and it would benefit the entire city if there were more businesses located on the south side than people on the north side wanted to patronize. More businesses on the south side would serve to unite our city. In order to keep pace and stay competitive, we hope many people will take advantage of these opportunities. —Jeannette Chernin

Guillaume Urban

Generally dislike programs for favored groups

I hope this small-town variant of federal and state grants works, but as a matter of principle, I don’t like programs for advantaged groups. In practice, they may be needed for a limited time. However, as someone (perhaps arch-skeptical Ambrose Bierce) once said, “It is not right to distrust one’s fellow man, but it is seldom a mistake.”

One of the characteristics of free enterprise is that failing companies quickly disappear. It’s often embarrassing and it can seem unnecessary. But the alternative – government planning – rarely works better in the long run.

I have visited or lived in countries where central planning was so extensive that remote bureaucrats even picked out the locations of small cafes and used them to fight unemployment. My wife and I will never forget an overstaffed Konditorei in East Germany, where our coffee and pastries took so long to arrive that even the staff laughed. —William Urban

Laurie Muelder

Good uses of American Rescue Plan Act money

The City of Galesburg and Knox County Area Partnership created the South Side of Galesburg Occupancy Assistance Program to increase business occupancy on the South Side of Galesburg by providing a rent subsidy or a deposit for companies reusing vacant spaces, to those who qualify by completing an application with supporting documents. The Minority Business Collateral Assistance Program, also created by the City of Galesburg and Knox County Partnership, is designed to facilitate minority-, women-, and disabled-owned businesses seeking financing for their start-up business, and to assist in certain situations where collateral is insufficient to allow for financing that would otherwise not be available to a small business. This program also requires a completed application and supporting documents. I think these are good uses of some of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money the city has received, and I wish the successful applicants well in growing their businesses. I applaud the adventure of urban agriculture. Encouraging the production of healthy produce in our neighborhoods is also a great use of ARPA funds. —Laurie Muelder

After:Cafe, Sports Center Among Businesses Seeking Galesburg Minority Grants

Charlie Gruner

Subsidies seem both discriminatory and condescending

This seems both discriminatory and condescending. It could therefore be the subject of legal challenges, increasing the city’s expenses and not achieving any of its objectives.

It seems to only include minorities and women. It is discrimination, by definition.

It’s condescending. It assumes that neither women nor minorities are capable of starting or running a business without the help of some level of government, especially wealthy white liberal politicians who promise everything and deliver nothing.

What is meant by “urban agriculture?” I remember when there was Liberty Gardens in Chicago. Of course, they were for community members to grow their own food (usually on empty urban land). I suspect the modern version is something else. , likely involving marijuana.

If the program was just geared towards a geographic area with no mention of race or gender and banning marijuana, I could agree that might help Galesburg move forward. –Charlie Gruner

The Community Roundtable takes place every Sunday and is made up of local writers. Community writers answer one question each week in 150 words or less.

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