Metropolis distributes .34M in venue help, with extra funding on the best way


Town has awarded $1.34 million in help to reside music venues which have been largely or solely closed since March, with one other spherical of metropolis funds out there and billions in federal help on the best way quickly.

As of this week, the primary spherical of $20,000 grants from the Music Venue Preservation Fund has been delivered to 69 music venues across the metropolis. In whole $5 million has been dedicated from the Normal Fund – not from the federal CARES Act within the spring – to assist small companies that had been compelled to shut with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The following spherical of metropolis funding, an further $140,000, can be out there to recipients of the primary spherical. These {dollars} will greater than probably be used for repaying lease for the companies, which in Austin common $35,000 monthly in lease prices.

Second-round recipients might want to full a technical help analysis to assist house owners construct stronger companies. They may even have to create an fairness strategic plan, with the help of a city-provided advisor, to deliver higher variety and alternative to the town’s reside music scene.

Veronica Briseño, the town’s chief financial restoration officer, mentioned the help program, which was created within the fall following massive public demonstrations by music advocates, mentioned the town wished to see long-term stability and enchancment round fairness points tied to the bigger spherical of funding.

“This was the primary time we had been administering emergency grants after which coming again with longer-term aid and a relationship with the entity,” she mentioned. “It’s a approach to assist our music venues of their rapid want to provide them some respiratory room whereas we do an analysis on subsequent steps for long-term aid.”

Briseño mentioned the town can be closely concerned with serving to to tell venue house owners about the way to apply for cash from the federal Save Our Phases program, which was accredited late final 12 months and can present $15 billion to assist music venues throughout the nation.

“The good thing about that program is it hasn’t been rationed out by area and so the cash is out there till there’s none left,” she mentioned. “So we actually wish to make sure that our reside music venues are educated on the way to apply for these funds. As a result of Austin per capita has extra reside music venues than most U.S. cities, we wish to guarantee that is mirrored in how these funds are distributed.”

Cody Cowan, government director of the Crimson River Cultural District, mentioned most long-idle venues have been capable of maintain on to their areas due to landlords keen to attend for the long-expected federal support package deal. With large-scale touring and concert events not anticipated to renew till late 2021 on the earliest, he mentioned the venues are engaged on creating three- to five-year reimbursement plans and the way to run their companies profitably as quickly as doable.

“Most venues’ landlords are trying on the worm on the top of the hook for federal stimulus,” he mentioned. “Loads of landlords are renegotiating leases and now that we’re 10 months in it appears like extra persons are real looking about the place the horizon on that is. It’s not at this time or tomorrow and we don’t know that it’ll be this 12 months.”

Cowan mentioned the steps to supply extra skilled enterprise help to grant recipients is a well-intended transfer by the town since most of these enterprise house owners are probably unfamiliar with chapter legal guidelines and debt restructuring, or the way to safe the very best lease phrases doable.

However he additionally backed criticism of metropolis leaders who held off for near a 12 months on directing CARES cash to the town’s signature financial sector.

“I feel this exhibits the town was much less resilient and so they had been doing triage at first, caring for folks to maintain them consuming and never getting evicted at first. Governments aren’t constructed to function like Ferraris … that exhibits there’s some issues to work on so far as metropolis infrastructure and nimbleness,” he mentioned. “I perceive folks had been doing what they may with restricted time and assets, however from a music advocacy standpoint it’s arduous to know why it took till October for the model of the town to be acknowledged and for small enterprise to be acknowledged.”

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