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NEW YORK CITY-At a meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. today, the group approved a draft for $220 million in federal funding to support small local businesses and lure residents Downtown.

Under the approved subsidy draft, tenants who sign or renew a two-year lease within the “Immediate Impact Zone” (the area south of Chambers St. and west of Broadway, and the entirety of Battery Park City) will be eligible for a grant of 30% of their monthly rent totaling up to $12,000 over two years. Tenants in the “Less Immediate Impact Zone,” (outside of the immediate zone but South of Canal St. and Rutgers St.) will be eligible for a maximum of $6,000 over the same period.

All tenants and owners who occupied their apartments as of Sept. 11 will also be eligible for an additional grant of $1,000. According to the draft, 5000 housing units are included in the Immediate Impact Zone and 22,200 units are in the second designated area.

A second approved section of the draft entails a $10-million allocation for businesses located south of 14th St with fewer than 500 employees. Maximum benefits cover 50% of eligible training costs. The plan is estimated to cover 5,000 individuals.

In other LMDC news, the committee today formed the audit & finance committee, “in response to the Enron disaster,” according to committee head John C. Whitehead, and announced plans to instate four more advisory boards by the end of the week.

Frank Zarb, currently the CEO of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., will chair the new committee. Each of the nine councils will allow public input via advisory committee proposals through March 15, at which point the process shifts into an implementation phase.

Whitehead claimed the revitalization effort is ahead of schedule in some areas, evidenced by the recent opening of the Ritz Carlton and Century 21, which plans to open “within the next week or so.” Future Lower Manhattan events include openings of an Ann Taylor retail outlet in April and the Tribecca Film Festival in May. PATH reinstatement is proceeding ahead its initial timeframe as well. “The line will not be restored in 2002,” said Whitehead, “but the schedule has been stepped up from the two year window recently announced.” In addition, the designation of a temporary WTC memorial has been narrowed to four unannounced sites. The location will be chosen through the Families Advisory Council on the 28th. The meeting was held at One Liberty Plaza.

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