Irving Park Road and Long Avenue in Portage Park as seen May 24, 2022. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

PORTAGE PARK — Portage Park small business owners looking to make repairs to their shops, offices or warehouses are eligible for grants up to $250,000 through a city program.

The city’s Department of Planning and Development opened the Small Business Improvement Fund application process on Monday. The grants are for permanent building repairs and improvements. Applications are due 5 p.m. Aug. 31.

To apply, businesses must be in one of two tax increment finance districts: the West Irving Park or the Belmont/Cicero tax district, which covers parts of Portage Park and Belmont Cragin. The money from both tax districts expires at the end of 2024. To find out if your business is in one of those districts, go here.

The West Irving Park district stretches on Irving Park Road between Long and Normandy avenues. It also includes parts of Central Avenue from Sunnyside Avenue to Grace Street.

The Belmont/Cicero district stretches along Cicero between Grace to Montana streets and from Keating to Leclaire avenues on Belmont Avenue.

Two types of businesses are eligible for the improvement grants: commercial businesses with gross annual sales up to $9 million on average over the past three years and industrial businesses with up to 200 full-time employees. Residential projects are not eligible.

Through the grant, business owners can receive funding to cover 30-90 percent of remodeling work. Commercial properties can receive a maximum of $150,000, while industrial properties can receive a maximum of $250,000. The grant doesn’t need to be repaid.

Business owners can apply online. An informational webinar will be hosted by the planning department 1 p.m. Wednesday. Interested owners can register for the virtual webinar online.

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