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The Village of Lancaster's central business district stands to benefit by $100,000 under a new low-interest loan program ratified Monday by the Village Board.

The loan program will be administered by the county, which will funnel federal Housing and Urban Development money to the village in the form of Community Development Block Grant funds. The money obtained by the village will be distributed as low-interest loans to village businesses by the Lancaster Village Partnership, a 2-year-old development corporation.

Mayor William G. Cansdale Jr. said the loans will be distributed to local businesses looking to create jobs or improve their facilities.

"We've been looking at ways to reverse the downward spiral of the business district," Cansdale said. "This is loan money that has to be repaid, but the benefit is that the interest is low. The purpose is for job creation and buildings."

There are more than 20 small businesses in the village's central district, which includes Central Avenue from Broadway to Pleasant Avenue and parts of Main Street.

"I assume that all of the existing businesses will be applying for money," Cansdale said.

"It's a historic opportunity for the business people in downtown Lancaster."

Under the provisions of the loan program, described in a letter to the Village Board from Stanley J. Keysa, deputy county commissioner of planning and economic development, the village will sign a contract with the county for the day-to-day management of the loans.

A loan review committee will be assembled shortly to develop review procedures for businesses applying for the money, Cansdale said.

The vote to approve the loan program was 5-1, with Trustee Frank Stock voting against the plan.

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