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Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation looks to add to its microloan program

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CARLISLE — The Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation could soon have more money to help small business thanks to new funds coming from the United States Department of Agriculture.

On Monday, the Cumberland County Commissioners will decide whether to approve $400,000 from the USDA Rural Microentrepreneurial Assistance Program that CAEDC will use to offer microloans to small businesses in the county.

CAEDC CEO Jonathan Bowser said the money will add to the roughly $1.5 million that the development corporation currently has for its microloan program.

“This is a new program,” Bowser said Thursday during the commissioners’ workshop session. “The way that this program is rolling out is this is a grant/loan program.”

Bowser explained that the money will be given to CAEDC as a grant with a 15 percent match, but once the money is lent to small businesses, 2 percent of the interest charged must be paid to the USDA.

Currently, CAEDC charges 3.5 percent interest on its loans, meaning CAEDC would receive 1.5 percent interest at their current rate.

The loans are available to any small business in the county and any money received in interest from CAEDC’s microloans goes back into the loan funds for future lending.

“It’s a grant in the sense that we don’t repay anything and we don’t have any repayment until we actually lend out a loan to a small business,” Bowser said. “Once we make that commitment to that small business and those monies are out the door then at that point we have to pay back to the USDA that (2) percent.”

CAEDC has been offering microloans to help new and expanding business since 2006. Bowser said close $3 million has been lent to business like Sweet Frog and Comfort Suites in Carlisle as well as Machine Tool in Shippensburg and Sotiris in Mechanicsburg.

He said CAEDC has only a 2 percent delinquency rate on its microloans and has only had to take legal action over one loan.

Even if a loan would default, Bowser said the person receiving the loan would be required to pay back the USDA. CAEDC and the county are insulated from risk if that situation would arise, he said.

“If it comes to a worst case scenario and the borrower does not have the ability to repay back the loan, CAEDC along with the USDA would go after the collector that’s held,” Bowser said. “If that collateral does not make whole what is owed, the USDA would just write it off.”

Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to observe National Nursing Home Week

Also announced during Thursday’s meeting was Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s observance of National Nursing Home Week.

The week runs from May 10–16 and will be marked by several events to provide entertainment for Claremont residents, family members and friends.

The theme of the week is “Bring on the Fiesta.”

The events include a strawberry shortcake social on Mother’s Day for residents and family.

The Zembo String Band will perform at 2 p.m. Wednesday and the Mechanicsburg Jazz Band will perform at 7 p.m.

Impressionist Eric Kearns will provide a special performance at 2 p.m. Friday, May 15.

A full list of activities can be found out ccpa.net/cnrc.

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