City of Syracuse accepts applications for loan program to help small businesses

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – Tim Edwards opened SouthSide Fitness in Valley Plaza almost six years ago.

“I wanted to open this gym for the community,” Edwards said. “We take money, we make cards, we do whatever it takes to get the members here for this community.”

It had around 215 members until the pandemic forced them to close. The reopening was not easy either.

“It’s tough, we’ve lost half of our members,” Edwards explained, “It means we lost the money to pay for the lease and the lights and things like that, a lot of things I have had to get out of my pocket for that. “

He applied for a loan through the city of Syracuse and was able to perform upgrades to ensure safe use of the gymnasium. In particular, he was able to buy and install disinfection stations.

“We bought an air purifier, which costs something like this at almost $ 2,500,” said Edwards pointing to a purifier. “So we got three thanks to the funding.”

The Syracuse Economic Development Corporation is now accepting applications for the first round of its million dollar loan program. It is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. There are three different financing options depending on the size and designation of the business.

“The maximum you can claim depending on which of these three you select, $ 5,000 that comes with that forgiveness option if you’re a micro-business up to $ 200,000,” said Eric Ennis, director Assistant of the Neighborhood and Business Development Department.

“This is ARPA’s goal, to put resources in the hands of those who need them most,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

Although it was difficult for Edwards, the shutdown was not an option for him.

“I come from this community. I grew up in this community. I was homeless in this community. So it is important for me to give back.

The deadline to apply for the first round is December 31st. There will be future tours announced later. Details on the program and the application process, including an initial admission questionnaire that must be completed by interested applicants, are available at

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