SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A grant program created to assist small businesses impacted by Southland light-rail construction topped the $1 million mark Sept. 17 as officials handed a $15,000 check to the owner of a Crenshaw Boulevard salon.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Business Interruption Fund has doled out more than 60 grants of varying amounts to “mom-and-pop” businesses, most of them located along the path of the 8.5-mile, $2.06 billion Crenshaw/LAX light rail line that will connect the Expo and Green lines.
“Local businesses are the lifeline of a community,” county Supervisor and Metro board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “Since construction began on the Crenshaw/LAX line, our small businesses have been asked to ensure dust, noise and significant disruption to their daily operations. This million-dollar milestone represents a significant and well-deserved investment in the Crenshaw Corridor.
“It demonstrates Metro’s commitment to helping local small businesses not only survive, but be ready to thrive when the Crenshaw line reopens.”
Ridley-Thomas was among those on hand to present the $15,000 check to The New Millennium Beauty & Barber Shop Salon, 4306 Crenshaw Blvd. Salon owner Desentrie Allen called the grant “a true blessing.”
The salon was established in August 1998 in the Crenshaw corridor. In 2000 Allen purchased the building where the business is currently located.
In 2008 at its peak operations, Allen had 21 independent hair professionals operating at the salon.
“We need to ensure that the transformation of L.A.’s public transportation into a world class transit system does not adversely impact our small businesses — the lifeblood of the city’s local economy,” Mayor and Metro board member Eric Garcetti said. “Our Business Interruption Fund is helping the small business community thrive amidst any temporary inconveniences posed during Metro’s expansion construction.”
“The fact that Metro has already awarded more than $1 million in grants to help small businesses that have been adversely impacted by rail construction is proof this agency backs its words with action,” said Metro board member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “Our ‘mom and pop’ businesses are the mainstay of our community and Metro recognizes how important it is to partner with them during the construction period by not only mitigating their losses and help to insure that communities truly benefit from the new transit services. Providing assistance that will help to sustain their business during the construction period and protect the local economies via the BIF is a model for the nation.”
“Metro’s commitment to assist small ‘mom and pop’ businesses directly impacted by rail construction is in full swing and is helping these merchants weather construction so they can welcome new customers when the rail line opens,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “This program, approved by the Metro Board, also applies to small businesses in Little Tokyo near the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension Phase 1, where soon businesses will feel the construction impact.”
Although the bulk of the Business Interruption Fund grants awarded so far have been for Crenshaw-area businesses, funding is also available for businesses that will be impacted by upcoming heavy construction on the Regional Connector project in Little Tokyo and for Mid-City and Westside businesses near the extension of the Purple Line subway.
Qualifying businesses must have been in continuous operation for at least two years with 25 or fewer employees. They also must demonstrate a loss of revenue directly attributable to Metro construction.