Ingrid Tighe, Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) Executive Director, presented ways the district has been working with the downtown businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to support them, during the Birmingham City Commission meeting on Monday, May 11.
“We have almost 700 businesses in our downtown, of which almost 300 are service and restaurants,” she said. “That is a lot of people, a lot of mom and pops that are impacted.”
She said the BSD has helped the downtown businesses with the paycheck protection program, have facilitated focus groups with Congresswoman Haley Stevens and state Rep. Mari Manoogian, and have been very active with Oakland County, helping to identify over 250 loans.
In addition, they have held merchant meetings, road construction updates, and what businesses can expect going forward 30 days, 60 days and 180 days.
“We've identified $100,000 in our budget for COVID-19 relief and construction assistance, and the BSD is putting over $400,000 to assist businesses in the downtown,” Tighe said.
She said a lot of their programming is going towards business retention, although they recognize the need to attract new business to the city as well.
“We are looking at some kind of small business relief fund,” she said, which could be a crowdfunding initiative, possibly through Main Street Oakland County, which would be open to the Rail District and Woodward Corridor businesses as well.