Under the banner of the Riverdale Park “Partners in Economic Recovery Program,” the small Baltimore Avenue municipality’s City Council approved a suite of economic and food-assistance measures March 25, 2020 designed to address the coronavirus pandemic, its disruptions, and the recovery needs expected to follow.
The measures are notable for the level of direct assistance offered to both businesses and residents, and could be a model for other small towns looking to provide direct assistance to their constituents during the pandemic. Riverdale Park, population 7,200-ish, has an annual operating budget of $6.7 million.
Under the program, Riverdale Park…
- Established a “Resident-Restaurant-Town Partnership Program” designed to provide government-subsidized coupons for town restaurants and restaurant promotional support. The program is to expire Dec. 30, 2020.
- Allocated $150,000 to from the city’s reserve funds to economic development programs.
- Established an Emergency Repair Grant Program designed to provide portion-matched grants of up to $2,000 to residents and businesses that need funds for – as the name suggests – emergency repairs.
- Amended definitions in the city’s Economic Development Fund enabling legislation that allows funds from the program to be used for “health, safety, welfare, and economic security” of town residents.
- Amended the town’s Business Improvement Grant Program to allow funds to be used for “limited interior work that serves to attract commerce.”
- Established a Farmers Market Dollar Program for any resident who declares “a need for assistance.” There is no means testing, however households that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be limited to $15 per week, while households that do not participate in SNAP can receive up to $25 in food assistance per week. The Market Dollar Program gives coupons to residents redeemable at the Riverdale Park Farmers Market. The program is set to expire Dec. 31, 2020.
- Temporarily amended the Business Growth Grant Program to allow grants to be used for “hard and soft project costs,” with applications needed by Dec. 31, 2020.
Per one Riverdale Park City Council member:
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