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Commentary: City programs support a wide variety of neighborhood initiatives

Algenon Cash

Commentary: City programs support a wide variety of neighborhood initiatives
August 22
00:00 2019

By Algenon Cash

Councilmember Annette Scippio recently hosted an East Ward Community Forum where several local officials spoke about a variety of city programs.  Key city staff such as Evan Raleigh and Ken Millet both attended the discussion. 

Many residents are often unaware the City of Winston-Salem has a plethora of ways to support entrepreneurial ideas, assist with growing an existing company, or even provide workforce development opportunities that help to expand the labor force.

 Here are just a few key programs available to city residents:

1. RUCA – also known as Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas, it was initially funded through a $1.5 million commitment from the City Council, and staff selected three areas for the first round of assistance – Waughtown Street/Thomasville Road intersection, Liberty Street/14th Street, and Washington Park/Acadia neighborhood.  The City Council then approved a second round of funding for an expanded map that included 18 areas.  The assistance may be structured in the form a low interest loan or matching forgivable loan.  Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream leveraged the RUCA program to receive $260,000 for renovations at 2600 New Walkertown Road in the East Ward.  One of the largest uses for the funds was deployed in renovating Parkview Shopping Center located in the Southeast Ward.  Visit the www.cityofws.org to learn more about the program and find out if your next project is located in a target area.

2. Small Business Loan – financial assistance for small businesses is available through a small business loan fund, but you must have a for-profit business located in the Winston-Salem Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA).  For example well known restaurants such as Sweet Potatoes, and even Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream, both utilized a small business loan from the city.  The program is uniquely designed to assist small businesses unable to secure conventional financing.  The funds can be used for working capital, renovating or unfitting commercial space, improving energy conversation, or purchasing furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E).  For more information contact Ken Millett – 336.747.7472 or kenm@nullcityofws.org

3. Youth Build – a six month program to help high school drop outs develop leadership skills, job training, and certification – participants can also earn their GED.  To participate you must be 18-24 years old, a high school drop out without a GED, low income, current or former foster youth, a youth or adult offender, or a child of an incarcerated parent.  For more information – youthbuildws@nullcityofws.org / 336.397.7770

4. SOAR – also known as Successful Outcomes After Release Program is designed to provide employment to former offenders while supplementing the city’s existing workforce in areas of critical need.  Participants receive a 6 month temporary employment contract to perform routine labor jobs such as landscaping, mowing, maintaining public and historic properties, picking up trash, and assisting with housing code enforcement.  In addition participants receive life skills training, financial literacy, job search techniques, GED and/or post-secondary education.  For more information visit www.cityofws.org/SOAR 

I would like to personally thank Councilmember Scippio for ensuring East Ward residents are in the know about city programs – hopefully other councilmembers are doing the same.  These programs give residents an effective pathway to overcome many obstacles that may be preventing their neighborhoods from excelling.

 Contact me with more questions, thoughts, or feedback!

Algenon Cash is a nationally recognized speaker and the managing director of Wharton Gladden & Company, an investment banking firm. Reach him at acash@nullalgenoncash.com

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