Hammond commission OKs loan for sign company

2013-04-25T19:30:00Z 2013-04-25T22:37:08Z Hammond commission OKs loan for sign companyChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A local sign and printing company is poised to receive a $54,500 loan from the Hammond Redevelopment Commission in exchange for hiring two city residents.

Redevelopment Commission members approved the loan this month for Advantage Signs and Printing, 6223 Hohman Ave. The loan is part of a city program that uses U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to help small businesses expand.

“The overriding purpose is to create job opportunities for low- to moderate-income Hammond residents,” said Beth Jacobson, the city's director of economic development.

To create those opportunities, the city started the program, which allows businesses to borrow $30,000 for every full-time job created.

Advantage Signs owner Bill O'Brien said the company will use the loan to purchase equipment to expand the apparel and printing operation of the business.

O'Brien declined to comment further on the loan Thursday until the details were finalized. Advantage Signs has been in Hammond for six years.

The loan is forgivable if certain criteria are met, including the hiring of Hammond residents and maintaining those positions for at least three years. Other local businesses that have received the loans from the Redevelopment Commission include The Blue Room Cafe and Kelleher, Helmrich & Associates Inc.

Jacobson said the companies also are required to make available any specialized training necessary for employees.

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