Home World Aurora to transfer grant program back to Invest Aurora group

Aurora to transfer grant program back to Invest Aurora group

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The Aurora City Council this week approved transferring the Finish Line Grant program back to the Invest Aurora organization, where it started.

The program was started in 2014, and over that time has funneled nearly $2 million toward redevelopment projects. The grants are designed to plug a gap that a development or business might have as it nears the finish of a redevelopment or start-up – hence the Finish Line Grant name.

Last year, the city approved about $700,000 in Finish Line grants, funded with money collected in taxes from Hollywood Casino.

When the program started, it was administered by Invest Aurora, a not-for-profit public-private partnership that deals with business development in the city. In 2022, with changes going on at Invest Aurora leadership, and a new contract in the works between the organization and the city, the program was transferred to the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development at the city.

With the new contract in place and new leadership at Invest Aurora, both city and Invest Aurora officials looked to transfer the program back.

Aldermen voted 10-1 Tuesday night to make that transfer, with Ald. John Laesch, at large, voting against it.

He said his main concern was “oversight” of the program. He suggested an amendment saying the grants should be voted on by the City Council, after going through the committee process, and that all the grants should be put on the Invest Aurora website within seven days of approval.

The proposed amendment died for lack of a second by any other alderman.

Invest Aurora officials have said that with the transfer, there would be some changes in the program.

One is to make it geographically available to all businesses throughout the city; at one time it was focused on downtown. The second change is to make the cap of each grant $50,000, instead of $100,000. That’s because there is less money available in the program this year, officials said.

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