City Bits

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EDC leadership awards

The Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. presented its 2008 Economic Development Leadership Awards last week.

David Jenkins, chief executive officer of Nor’wood Development Group, received a Community Enhancement Award for development of quality projects and exceptional corporate philanthropy.

Economic Impact Awards for the largest positive annual impact on the funding for the EDC program were presented to Nor’wood Development Group and La Plata Communities Inc.

The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council received the Outstanding Community Service Award for sustaining and attracting new military missions to the region.

Bill Sinclair, EDC political adviser and a former state representative, was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year for his political advocacy for economic development and guidance to the EDC board of directors.

Pam Keller, past chairwoman of the EDC board, received a Leadership Award and past board members Bill Hurt, Tom Naughton, Bill Miller and Wendy Pifher also were recognized.

SBA expands eligibility for 7(a) loans

More small businesses will be eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration-backed loans as a result of a temporary alternate size standard for the agency’s largest lending program.

The alternate size standard for 7(a) loans will be in effect through Sept. 30. As a result of the temporary change, more than 70,000 additional small businesses – including auto and RV dealerships, auto industry suppliers and others – could be eligible to apply for 7(a) loans.

The temporary standard will parallel the standard for the agency’s 504 Certified Development Co. loan, and will allow businesses to qualify based on net worth and average income.

The net worth for the company and its affiliates can’t be more than $8.5 million and average net income after federal taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) for the preceding two completed fiscal years can’t be more than $3 million.

CHFA selects board members

Joel Rosenstein and John H. Blumberg have been reappointed by Gov. Bill Ritter and confirmed by the state Senate to continue their service on the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority board of directors.

Rosenstein is a shareholder with Senn Visciano P.C. and Blumberg is co-founder and managing partner of Black Creek Group.

Four new members also were appointed to the board. They include state Sen. Betty Boyd; James Hahn of JMH Consulting; David Myler of the Myler Law Firm P.C.; and Anita Padilla Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of MegaStar Financial Corp.

ALB launches second round of funding

The American Lamb Board is soliciting requests for the second round of cooperative funding programs.

The Industry Matching Grant Program has $20,000 available to fund projects and activities that promote American lamb. All projects require a dollar-for-dollar match. The deadline for submitting applications is June 30.

The Supplier Cooperative Funding Program has $30,000 available to promote American lamb products in the retail and/or foodservice sectors. The deadline for submitting applications is June 1.

For more information, visit www.lambcheckoff.com or call (866) 372-5262.

Ewing Irrigation opens new branch

Ewing Irrigation Projects will open its seventh Colorado branch in Colorado Springs later this month at 2705 Capital Drive.

The Phoenix-based wholesale distributor of landscape and irrigation products, also has a branch at 4634 Northpark Drive.

Money available for wildlife  projects

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for enrollment into the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program.

WHIP is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. NRCS provides technical assistance and a payment rate for a participant to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Landowners can receive technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that help protect Gunnison sage grouse, greater sage grouse, Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, plains sharp-tailed grouse, lesser prairie chickens, southwestern willow flycatchers, western yellow-billed cuckoo, imperiled bird species associated with the shortgrass prairies (including shorebirds that utilize playas), and listed eastern plains native fish.

The deadline to apply is May 15.

For more information, visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip/whip.htm.

Strong dollar has little effect  on small retailers

A strong dollar (making imports cheaper and exporting more difficult) appears to have little effect on the survival rate of small retailers.

However, a study conducted by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, says that real exchange rate appreciation leads to increased rates of small firm exit in the wholesale sector. For wholesale firms with more than 10 employees, a 10 percent real dollar appreciation leads to about a 20 percent increase in firm closures.

The finding suggests that wholesalers are closely tied to domestic manufacturers, and find it difficult to switch suppliers to take advantage of falling import prices.

The study includes data from 1990 through 2005 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses and other sources.

For more information, visit www.sba.gov/advo.

Local HSMA chapter honored

The Southern Colorado Chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association has received two Frank W. Berkman Best of the Best Awards.

The organization was recognized for educational programming and membership retention and development. The chapter increased its membership during 2008 by 48 percent, which was the largest increase for any small chapter category.

It also received a Platinum Chapter Assessment Report.

TOPS seeks committee members

The City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board needs volunteers to serve on the TOPS Working Committee.

The committee determines spending priorities for the Trails, Open Space and Parks sales tax, which is the 0.1 percent sales tax approved by voters during 1997.

Applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • Have involvement with an organization dedicated to promoting trails, parks or open space.
  • Live within the city limits.
  • Demonstrate an interest associated with parks, trails or open space.

The deadline to apply is May 15.

For more information, call Chris Lieber at 385-6530.