RESTAURANT ATTRACTION AND EXPANSION PROGRAM

REAP slide

PURPOSE:

The City of Wadsworth Restaurant Expansion & Attraction Program is intended to assist in offsetting the cost to prospective food-related businesses in Wadsworth. The Program is designed to help attract new restaurants while also supporting the expansion of existing food establishments. The Program seeks to help address the cost of commercial kitchens, thereby helping minimize a barrier to entry into the restaurant industry.

The Restaurant Expansion and Attraction Program is funded with a total budget of $50,000. This Program offers a 50% reimbursement on eligible improvements. For example, qualifying improvements which cost a total of $30,000 would be eligible to be reimbursed up to $15,000 through the Program. Reimbursement awards shall not exceed $50,000 per applicant and per location. Funds will only be awarded to businesses that satisfy all eligibility requirements of the Program. The applicant(s) further understand there shall be no longer than a period of two (2) years from the execution of this contract and upon issuance of an occupancy permit. Reimbursements will be made after successfully obtaining an occupancy permit to conduct business activities. 

The funds are made possible by the City of Wadsworth and administered by the City’s Department of Economic Development, and are evaluated by the Review Committee consisting of directors of the Planning, Economic Development, and the Service Departments. Applicant(s) for the Program understand that funds are limited. Additionally, applications will be accepted over a 30-day period where they will then be reviewed and scored collectively. The applicant(s) further understand that invoices and other relevant purchasing documentation for eligible expenses/purchases will be provided to the City’s Office of Economic Development for financial management/auditing/accounting purposes.

ELIGIBILITY:

Eligible applicants must be establishing a sit-down, full-service restaurant within the corporate limits of Wadsworth, OH. Drive-thru and drive-in restaurant establishments are not eligible to participate within this Program. For the purpose of this Program, a full-service restaurant is defined as a location which is regularly and in a bona fide manner, used and kept open for the serving of a minimum of two of the following meals, generally considered: breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner to guests for compensation and which has suitable kitchen facilities connected therewith, containing conveniences for cooking an assortment of foods which may be required for such meals. The sale or service of sandwiches (whether prepared in a kitchen or made elsewhere and heated up on the premises) or snack foods shall be permitted as a component of a full-service restaurant, as defined herein. Additionally, the establishment may, or may not, serve alcoholic beverages.

Establishments primarily engaged in the following activities are not to be considered full-service restaurants:

  • Selling a specialty snack (e.g., ice cream, frozen yogurt, candy, cookies) or nonalcoholic beverages, except mobile vehicles, for consumption on or near the premises--are classified in U.S. Industry 722515, Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars;
  • Retailing confectionery goods and nuts not packaged for immediate consumption--are classified in U.S. Industry 445292, Confectionery and Nut Stores;
  • Retailing baked goods (e.g., pretzels, doughnuts, cookies, and bagels) not baked on the premises and not for immediate consumption--are classified in U.S. Industry 445291, Baked Goods Stores; and
  • Preparing and serving alcoholic beverages, known as bars, taverns, or nightclubs--are classified in Industry 722410, Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages); 
  • Existing food establishments are eligible if the grant is to be used to increase service or indoor seating capacity. Increased service shall be defined as additions in keeping with the definition of “full-service restaurant” as defined above.
  • The eligible business must be a permitted use in Wadsworth and be in compliance with all laws, zoning ordinances, rules, and regulations applicable to business construction, modification, and operation within the City of Wadsworth.
  • Eligible businesses will be required to receive all required permits from the city, county, and state; and pass all inspections.

Eligible uses for the funding include, but are not limited to:

  • Commercial Kitchen Hood Equipment, including Applicable Fire Suppression Systems
  • Commercial Ovens/Restaurant Ranges
  • Commercial Sinks
  • Commercial Food Holding and Warming Equipment
  • Commercial Cooler / Freezers
  • Interior leasehold improvements which expand full-service restaurant offerings

Funds may be spent on any non-removable building improvement such as infrastructure, permanent partitions, flooring, wall covering, mill work, light fixtures, and other building renovations. Other non-removable leasehold improvements.

Ineligible uses of funds including but not limited to:

  • Real estate acquisition costs and/or rents
  • Lease deposits and payments
  • Removable shelving and fixtures
  • Consulting fees associated with legal, design, or engineering services
  • Work performed prior to the grant award being assigned
  • Soft costs including permit and inspection fees
  • Other expenses not deemed eligible by the review committee

APPLICATION PROCESS

STEP 1: Pre-Application Meeting

Before applying, prospective businesses should contact Matthew Springer, the City of Wadsworth’s Economic Development Director, at (330) 322-5300 or email: mspringer@wadsworthcity.org to arrange a meeting to discuss how this Program may best benefit the business and to discuss specific Program requirements.

STEP 2: Application

Applicants must submit a completed RESTAURANT EXPANSION & ATTRACTION PROGRAM application and mail or email it to:

City of Wadsworth, Economic Development Department

ATTN: Matthew Springer

120 Maple St

Wadsworth, OH 44281

Email: mspringer@wadsworthcity.org

STEP 3: Project Evaluation/Approval Process

The Review Committee will evaluate each project based on the ranking criteria as set forth in the guidelines.

STEP 4: Signing the Restaurant Expansion & Attraction Program

The Restaurant Expansion and Attraction Program application will be signed by the applicant(s) and property/building owner.

STEP 5: Project Reimbursement

Awarded applicants will receive a singular lump sum reimbursement upon satisfying all conditions of the Program and obtaining final occupancy permit(s) to conduct business operations.