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Federal loans aim to speed up recovery after Glenwood Canyon natural disasters this summer

Loans available to up to $2 million
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Posted at 9:22 AM, Sep 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-19 11:52:13-04

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. -- After a rough summer of heavy rains, flooding and rockslides, resulting in multiple closures of I-70, businesses in the Glenwood Canyon and Roaring Fork Valley are finally getting relief.

“As quickly as the crowds disappeared, we did see them come back,” said Greg Lemkau, owner of Rocky Mountain Pizza Company and Slope and Hatch. “Everybody has an appetite to be in the mountains and enjoying the beautiful fall weather, or even late summer weather and we’re lucky to be where we are. We’re busy again. We’re very busy.”

But the hardship created by those natural disasters is long-lasting.

Some businesses like estimate they lost up to 40 percent of their revenue during the closures.

Now, in an effort to speed up the recovery, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced the state is taking part in a federal program for small businesses impacted by the natural disasters.

Disaster relief loans at interest rates under 3% for small businesses in Garfield, Eagle, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Rhoutt counties, with a maximum loan amount up to $2 million.

“We think it’s a good thing,” Lemkau said. “But, we decided that we’re not going to use it, not because it’s not helpful, and it really is a wonderful gesture and everything that’s been done is great, but we would rather understand that those are hard times.”

His businesses will likely write off the 25-40% losses and move forward.

Polis says others could benefit greatly from these loans.

“I thank our federal partners for fulfilling our request to help us build our roads back better and for their work to provide important relief to our small businesses.”