Racine County Eye has expanded its coverage over the past six months. You have come to count on us for stories about our coverage of COVID-19, the elections, social justice issues, business spotlights, hometown heroes, and real estate.

We spend hours making sure you have the highest and best information. If this is important to you, please subscribe today.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Messages of hope, action painted on the wooden boards of Uptown businesses in Kenosha. Photo by Daniel Thompson/The Uptown Observer.

KENOSHA ⏤ Downtown Kenosha Inc. announced Friday that it has put together a finance committee to help allocate funds to damaged Kenosha businesses.

Following the aftermath of riots that destroyed businesses in the Downtown and Uptown areas of Kenosha Aug. 23 and 24, DKI started a fundraising campaign in order to assist business owners with cleaning up and rebuilding.

To date, DKI has raised more than $250,000 to aid local businesses. Funds will be disbursed through an online application process on DKI’s website, which the organization will unveil next week.

“We know that this grant fund differs from other funding initiatives DKI has traditionally
deployed,” said DKI Executive Director Alex Binanti. “Business Improvement District boundaries do not affect this grant’s process or merit in any way. Our focus is specifically directed to those businesses that suffered physical damages and loss from Kenosha riots.

“This is one step in helping people who have lost their very livelihood. More than repairing buildings, we’re helping families who have committed to building their lives in Kenosha’s small business community. We owe all our Kenosha business families a chance to rebuild stronger.”

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Majority of damage sustained in Uptown

DKI originally intended to distribute half of the funds to Uptown and half to Downtown. However, DKI now plans to give more funding to Uptown entities.

“While Downtown technically had more numbers of businesses damaged, the scope of loss and damages are greater in Uptown,” Binanti said in an email interview Friday. “Our goal is to deliver funds to the most needed businesses. That will naturally drive a higher percentage to Uptown.”

Alex Binanti, DKI executive director

The process

The grant committee will begin meeting next week to finalize program guidelines and application standards. The grant program will focus on covering immediate needs from gaps in insurance coverage, short-term rental assistance to clean up costs associated with damages.

The committee’s goal is to announce the application period the week of Oct. 5, which will remain open
for approximately one week.

DKI will award funds following a two-week review after the close of the application period.

All guidelines with applicable use of funds and the scoring matrix will be posted to the public and
the application will be available at www.downtownkenosha.org by Oct. 5.

The finance committee

In the meantime, residents can get to know the finance committee members.

According to DKI, the group features diverse small business owners in both Uptown and Downtown Kenosha.

The committee members are:

  • AJillian Day Burrell, Textures Rx Beauty & Barber
  • Derek Petersen, Johnson Financial Group
  • Erin Ginn, Herzing University
  • Gary Hutchins, State Bank of the Lakes
  • Gina Sorenson, US Bank
  • Gustavo Lopez, Kenosha Auto Insurance
  • Heather Wessling, Kenosha Area Business Alliance
  • Joshua Ferguson, Sugar Boxx Play Space
  • Monica Karnes, LaMacchia Travel Agency
  • Nate Leonardelli, Leonardelli Insurance & Financial Services
  • Ranesha Johnson Langston, 2U4U Beauty Hair Supply
  • Thomas O’Connell Jr, Partner in Design Architects

Administration staff performing grant procedures include Binanti and Matt Monroe, DKI treasurer.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Also in the news

Educator of the Week: Marcus West Teaches Physical Education Virtually

The first year at a new job can be challenging. Have you thought about how it may be for an educator who’s starting in the position for the first time during a pandemic? At this time, Racine Unified School District is teaching via virtual learning, due to the COVID-19. The Racine County Eye Educator of […]

Hometown Hero: Sarah Jurkiewicz

Sarah Jurkiewicz has many talents including the gift to care for cancer patients. This nurse doesn’t just care for them by administering medication. Jurkiewicz puts people as ease by singing to them during treatment. Helping patients, in any capacity, is her purpose. Jurkiewicz is an employee at Ascension All Saints Cancer Center. The Gateway Technical […]

Business Spotlight: Compassionate Peer Support and Training, LLC

Are you feeling blue because of COVID-19? This global pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways, including our mental health. Even if you may be managing, someone in your life might be experiencing a mental health challenge. Everyone has their own journey with mental health and a new business in town is shedding light […]

Love what we do?

In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/

Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...