CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake City Council last night scheduled April 20th as the date for public hearings regarding financial allocations to three initiatives related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One proposal includes an initial $100,000 financial allocation to the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation’s “Small Business Recovery & Continuity Fund”. The fund would help small, independently-owned businesses with less than 25 employees that are suffering during the public health emergency with grants of up to $5000. Corridor CEO Chad Schreck says many businesses haven’t been able to take advantage of state and federal grants, and they’re using a model that’s being done in other communities in the state. “Carroll Iowa did do something very similar and had their initial applications due this last week. I’ve had an opportunity to talk through some of the things they saw with that program. It’s helping us to develop this out. By way of comparison, the city has also given $100,000 to the program, and they had over 100 applications. I think they only had it open for just over a week, so it went really quickly. They were also going up to $5000 grants.” Schreck says priority would be given to companies with longer track records in the community. “That’s one of the questions that’ll be part of the application, ‘how long have you been in operation in the city or the county?’ We want to make sure that we are prioritizing those that have shown a long-track record here. It doesn’t mean that people on the shorter end are ineligible or anything by any means, we just want to make sure we’re honoring that long-term commitment here.” Schreck says they know local businesses have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. “We’ve also been doing outreach to businesses through phone calls and things of that nature, and that just verified that need. Our surveys that we’ve been putting out show that 65% of them responded they’d need some type of financial assistance. That was across the range, whether it was small or large businesses. Obviously we’re directing this toward small businesses.” The city’s contribution toward the Corridor grant fund would be redirected from the city’s economic development fund. The other two initiatives would approve allocating $10,000 from that same fund to the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce to support and underwrite costs associated with enhanced “shop local” marketing efforts. The third would allow the city to provide Clear Lake Chamber Bucks for city employees, including volunteer firefighters, in response to and recognition of their ongoing extraordinary efforts for the citizens. The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors and the Mason City City Council later today at their respective meetings will make their initial consideration of the Corridor’s grant program.