MEDICINE PARK — The Medicine Park Economic Development Authority (MPEDA) approved the implementation of an emergency loan program for restaurants and retail storefront businesses in Medicine Park that have been forced to close or greatly reduce services due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The action was taken Thursday at a special session meeting.

About $40,000 is available for the loans, Chairman Tom Null said, and the loans are divided into three denominations. One will be $1,800 at a 1 percent interest rate for a 2-year term, due in March 2022, though the borrower will be given a six-month forbearance if desired, meaning they would not need to start making payments until October of this year. The next amount would be $3,600 at the same terms of interest and length, and the largest amount would be $7,200, also at 1 percent and also due in March 2022.

The members of the board also approved a six-month forbearance on all existing MPEDA revolving loans for business owners in the city.

The money comes from a program called OK Leap which was put in place in 1995. They were originally given out through the federal government largely as entrepreneurial start-up money. Medicine Park is the only town in Oklahoma that still has any of these funds left. Null said the money could not be used for any other purpose.

Null said there will be no collateral required with these loans, and said he wanted business owners to be able to get the money they might need as soon as possible.

“I was trying to make it a simple, one-page application. It’s just a promissory note, a good-faith note, just trying to get people over the hump,” Null said. “I’m thinking after application, there’s really no approval period at all. We could have a check to you in a matter of a days.”

Finally, the board approved the hiring of town treasurer Yolonda Ramos for MPEDA accounting and adding her to all MPEDA bank accounts and signature cards.

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