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Tuesday, April 18, 2000

N. Shore businesses
eligible for SBA loans

Merchants hurt by the highway
closure can borrow money
at 4 percent interest

By Russ Lynch


Businesses that lost money after Kamehameha Highway was closed by the March 6 Waimea Bay rock slide will be able to get help through low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA regional headquarters in Sacramento said yesterday that the loans, with a 4 percent interest rate, were made possible when it approved Gov. Ben Cayetano's request to declare an economic injury disaster for the North Shore area.

Andrew K. Poepoe, SBA Honolulu district director, said the organization will open offices in Haleiwa and Laie where business operators can meet loan officials to discuss their needs and what is available.

There has been no official estimate of economic damage from the road blockage caused by the slide but Haleiwa retailers and restaurants have lost a significant amount of business.

The road was cut off completely for nearly two weeks and a temporary bypass road that opened March 18 was washed away March 31 by a stream flood. The temporary road was opened again five days later and state Department of Transportation officials say a permanent bypass should be finished by the end of June.

SBA loan offices will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bank of Hawaii branch in Haleiwa on Thursdays, April 20 and 27 and May 4 and on Fridays, April 21 and 28 and May 5; and in the Bank of Hawaii in Laie on Mondays, April 24, May 1 and May 8, and on Tuesdays, April 25, May 2 and May 9.

The SBA said those unable to make it to the disaster offices may call 1-800-488-5323.

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