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NEW YORK CITY-A $700-million Downtown recovery program unveiled yesterday is expected to help 20,000 businesses impacted by the World Trade Center bombings get back on their feet as well as serve as an incentive for businesses seeking to relocate to Lower Manhattan.

Funding for the program has been appropriated by the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to the Empire State Development Corp. Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the plan yesterday at the opening of the new World Trade Center Business Recovery Center at 2 Rector St. A second center at 110 Maiden Lane also opened its doors yesterday.

“These new business assistance centers along with our new $700 million action plan will help us rebuild our city, revitalize our economy and bring new jobs and economic opportunities to Lower Manhattan,” Governor Pataki said. “Today, we are taking another step to make it easier and faster for local businesses to get the help they need and to attract new businesses to Lower Manhattan.”

The Business Recovery Centers are designed to expedite the funding application process and will remain open for the foreseeable future. Once completed applications have been received, businesses can expect checks to be cut within 10 working days with the first checks issued by the end of this month.

The economic recovery plan will provide grants and low-cost loans to four types of businesses affected by or responding to the Sept. 11 attacks:

  • Businesses located in Lower Manhattan at the time of the disaster that have remained within Lower Manhattan
  • Businesses located in Lower Manhattan at the time of the disaster that have temporarily relocated elsewhere because of the disaster
  • New York City businesses that suffered significant economic dislocation because a major portion of their customers were located in Lower Manhattan
  • Businesses seeking to locate new operations and create new jobs in Lower Manhattan.

    The plan incorporates suggestions provided in comments offered by a variety of groups and individuals in response to the proposed action plan issued last month. It will now be submitted to HUD for approval, which is anticipated this month. Key components include compensation for economic losses, technical assistance for small business recovery, job retention and attraction, infrastructure rebuilding, business information and administration.

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