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Grant program makes Carnegie more attractive to businesses

Manager Kelly Lamb (left) talks to a customer about the menu at Debbie Gates' All American BBQ restaurant along East Main Street in Carnegie. Photo by Kristina Serafini

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By Jeffrey Widmer
Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 10:40 a.m.

Kelly Lamb decided to take a chance on Carnegie last November.She's happy she did.Lamb is the co-owner of Debbie Gate's All-American Barbecue, Burgers, Fries and Funnel Cakes on East Main Street in Carnegie.Business has built up steadily, Lamb said, to the point where she knows she can look toward a future in Carnegie."Let's put it this way: We have enough to pay the bills, but we want to do more," said Lamb.There's a good reason for that. The business, one of 10 that have taken up shop in Carnegie over the past year, has begun to advertise on cable television. This in itself is costing thousands of dollars, but Lamb said the exposure is bringing in more customers."Our lunch crowd is tremendous. We find ourselves with a lot of people here and a lot of deliveries. The deliveries are going out to local businesses. I'm happy about it," she said.Leigh White, executive director of Carnegie Community Development Corp., said she is happy to see so many new businesses in the borough. From Captain Clothing to Bob's Diner to Precious Angels Day Care, businesses are either moving to Carnegie from other municipalities or choosing Carnegie for new locations.One of the main reasons for that, White said, is Carnegie Community Development Corporation's Business Attraction Grant Program. The program was designed to spur revitalization and expansion efforts through the attraction of new businesses, the development of new jobs, and by assisting existing business in the community to grow, White said.The program provides matching grants of up to 25 percent of the total projects costs, with a maximum grant of $50,000. The program initially was piloted with a grant to CVS — now located at the intersection of East Main and Chestnut streets — to assist with costs associated with options necessary to secure a portion of their assembled properties.As of the June 1, Carnegie Community Development Corp. has committed $320,250 in these grants. The money comes from a grant from the Chartiers Valley Industrial and Commercial Development Authority, White said.The grant money is working for Carnegie, White said. It is estimated that by the end of 2013, a total of 248 new and retained jobs will have been created due to the grant program. As for the grant program, "I would like to think this is a cherry on the sundae, so to speak. I would like to think that most of the businesses that come here - Bob's Diner, CVS and the rest - come here because they want to come here. The money is just an incentive."

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