HUD loan with Cincinnati State Middletown to help businesses - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Middletown hoping to boost downtown businesses with HUD loan


For years, the City of Middletown has tried to draw more business to its downtown.

Now, it has a sizable loan to help its efforts.

It's an example of what's working in the tri-state.

The loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development puts an emphasis on the city's partnership with Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

It is the only community college in Butler County.

"In the past there has always been a focus toward the highway, that's where the money was generated and our downtown was just kind of left to die," explained Sue Wittman, a vendor in the Pendleton Arts Center. "The students are walking up and down the street. They come down the street to the cafe, they stop in the businesses and patronize, so that's been really nice."

The presence of Cincinnati State in Middletown impacts the community in many ways.

"We're starting to see more businesses downtown," said Judy Bober, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. "Right now it is the arts and places to eat."

The school is also partnering with local employers to see how programs can be developed to train employees, or if businesses can utilize the Workforce Development Program.

"It's going to help support job creation and retention," added Bill Trick with the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton. "It's going to bring a lot of people to the community, especially to the downtown area. It's going to take time. It's not going to happen all at one time."

The first step in the initiative is to buy up vacant buildings for the use of Cincinnati State, and the hope is that a trickle down affect will impact the businesses of Middletown.

This is a loan not a grant, so the money will need to be paid back with funds from the economic development project.

If not enough money is generated, the burden will fall on the city to pay the money back.

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