Cowtown Offers Businesses Grants Post-Sandman Blast

Sandman hotel | Image by Sandman Hotel Group

Funds are being made available for Fort Worth businesses affected by the Sandman Hotel explosion earlier this January.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed since a suspected gas explosion from a basement-level restaurant at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Fort Worth rocked the building, injuring 21 people. FIRST ONSITE Property Restoration, a restoration service firm based in Farmers Branch, applied last month for a permit to begin work to renovate the hotel, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

While contractors begin work, the City of Fort Worth is providing resources to help local businesses affected by the blast recover as well.

City officials announced on Wednesday that local small businesses in the downtown area may apply for up to $50,000 in taxpayer grant money from the Fort Worth Local Development Corporation (LDC). This comes after the LDC approved a $250,000 disaster recovery stimulus program at the recommendation of the Economic Development Department (EDD).

To be eligible for a grant, a business must be located on Eighth Street, between Throckmorton and Houston streets, on the southern side of the Sandman Hotel. The funds can be used for business needs, such as employee support, mortgages, utilities, supplies, and more.

The grant initiative comes after city personnel spoke with the owners of businesses impacted by the explosion, listening to their concerns and learning about the issues they have been facing. Mostly, they were struggling with revenue loss due to customers having difficulty accessing their storefronts.

Ori Fernandez and Robert Sturns, the assistant director and director of EDD, respectively, reported that several businesses, including Thompson’s Bookstore, Barber’s Bookstore, and La’ Creamian, were in need of the funds.

“We will be using a scoring matrix and that will determine the amount of funding that each of these eligible businesses would be awarded,” said Fernandez, per The Dallas Morning News.

Businesses that receive grants must report on how the money was used within six months, providing documentation.

Eighth Street is expected to remain closed for repairs for several more weeks.

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