More loan money available to rebuild Kenosha businesses

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state is making more money available to help small businesses in Kenosha recover from damage during recent unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, officials announced Wednesday.

Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said another $3 million would be added to the previously-announced $1 million in no-interest loans for small businesses.

Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig recently told the Police and Fire Commission that damage from the violence that followed Blake’s shooting Aug. 23 has topped $11 million.

The 29-year-old Black man was left partially paralyzed after a white officer shot him seven times in the back as police tried to arrest him.

The shooting, which was recorded on video and seen widely on social media, sparked protests and violence in Kenosha, where roughly two dozen fires were set and numerous businesses were destroyed.

Prosecutors say 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, shot three demonstrators, killing two of them, during a chaotic protest Aug. 25.

“We know Kenoshans are working to reconstruct and repair in the wake of devastation, and we want to do everything we can to support the Kenosha Comeback,” Evers said. “I have seen firsthand the resilience of this community, and we are going to do everything we can to be there as they work to rebuild and move forward together.”

The maximum loan amount available to businesses is $50,000. The WEDC is partnering with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance to administer the loans. Affected businesses should contact the alliance to apply for the loans.

The loans can be used to fund repair work, for cleanup and restoration services, operating expenses, temporary space and payroll.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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