Falmouth Enterprise, December 11, 2020 Brad Cole The Economic Development and Industrial Corporation is developing a preapplication for small businesses seeking funding through its microenterprise grant assistance program. Falmouth will receive $320,000 from the the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development through a block grant program authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, $160,000 of which will go to the small business grant program administered by the EDIC. On Tuesday, December 8,EDIC executive director Michael DiGiano said the draft grant application program forms will be sent to town administration for review this week. “Hopefully, between us and the town, we will be able to get the word out over the next couple of weeks and hopefully start processing applications in January,” Mr. DiGiano said. In order to be eligible for a grant, a small business must have five or fewer employees, with the owner making no more than 80 percent of the area median income. Businesses can receive up to $10,000 in grant funding. “I’d like to see if we can move this process forward as quickly as possible, because we are losing employees and we are losing businesses every day,” corporation member Michael B. Galasso said. The remainder of the grant will be used for social assistance programs, such as rental assistance and support for food banks. Mr. DiGiano announced MassDevelopment awarded a real estate services technical assistance grant to the EDIC. “The EDIC was successful in its application for $50,000 of technical assistance money from MassDevelopment to do a master plan for the Falmouth Station area, which would look at expansion of the station parking, the possibility of creating some workforce housing on the site and a variety of other potential exciting improvements to that particular area,” Mr. DiGiano said. The grant will be matched by $25,000 in in-kind service by EDIC staff. “We just got the announcement yesterday that we were successful, and we will be following up with MassDevelopment to figure out our next steps,” Mr. DiGiano said. Describing the concept ideas as significant improvements to the site, corporation member Christopher R. Simmler said the Massachusetts Department of Transportation needs to be kept in the loop. The EDIC has a long-term ground lease at Falmouth Station through MassDOT. “They’re going to have to approve anything that we do, but how do we chip away and let them know how we’re progressing, so it is not a surprise to them?” Mr. Simmler said. Board member Samuel H. Patterson said the Falmouth Planning Board also needs to be informed of any developments at the site. Mr. DiGiano said the planning board will be informed. “That is really why we asked for the technical assistance money, so we can do all of that due diligence and bring some planning concepts forward and get input and feedback from all the various stakeholders,” he said. “The planning board would certainly be one of them.” The EDIC is waiting for feedback from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council regarding the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England’s resubmission for a $209,000 grant to upgrade its ocean sensor test bed at its Bourne Tidal Test Stand near the railroad bridge on the Cape Cod Canal. “Our application with MRECo is now being reviewed by the Seaport Economic Council,” Mr. DiGiano said. The EDIC is also exploring the newly announced Local Rapid Recovery Planning overseen by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. “This has to do with the presentation we got from Marco Mandri in forming a business improvement district downtown,” Mr. Galasso said. “There are state funds that might be available for that.” Mr. Mandri, president of New City America, discussed the benefits of business improvement districts at the EDIC’s October meeting. Details regarding the Local Rapid Recovery Planning were forwarded to Falmouth Chamber of Commerce president Michael Kasparian. “It seemed like there was some interest with the downtown Falmouth business association maybe working to apply this grant, so they could develop a plan to bring a downtown coordinator into Falmouth,” Mr. DiGiano said.