Disaster declaration impacts area, region

Marty Fittante

MARQUETTE — Amid the warmest winter on record, federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available due to ongoing federal drought declarations affecting 42 Michigan counties, including 11 in the Upper Peninsula, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Michiganders are used to tough winters, but this year’s record-setting warm winter has been tough in a different way, causing economic hardships for small businesses and regional economies that rely on snow,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I know how hard this winter has been on families and communities who rely on winter tourism revenue and all the associated business that comes with it–hotels, restaurants and shops.”

Whitmer is urging Michigan small businesses impacted by lack of snow to apply for federal funding from the Small Business Administration.

U.P. counties which have already received drought declarations are Alger, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Iron, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee and Ontonagon.

The CEO of InvestUP Marty Fittante said he is also working to get other U.P. counties included in the drought declaration.

“For those counties that are not yet part of the declaration, do not give up hope, because I do believe that conversation continues with the administration and the SBA to determine whether or not there is a path to get them declared,” said Fittante.

It’s all hands on deck to ensure small businesses affected by the unseasonable lack of snow across the 1st Congressional District are able to make it through this tough winter, said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet.

“Working together with the governor, business owners and local leaders, we will continue to take every step possible to extend necessary resources and assistance to help our communities thrive through this unprecedented winter,” he said.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans are designed to help businesses through disaster situations that have impacted their economic well-being.

Loans are up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Businesses pay no interest on the loan for the first year and a maximum rate of 4% for the rest of the loan period. Businesses must apply by the application deadline for their county.

Submit applications and find additional disaster assistance information at https://lending.sba.gov. Call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Marquette has had 72.6 inches of snow this season, compared to 127 inches in an average winter.

The UP200 sled dog race was canceled for the second year in a row due to lack of snow.


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