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Manassas EDA recoups half of NEW School grant

MANASSAS, Va. — The Manassas Economic Development Authority recovered half of a $10,000 grant to a now defunct after-school program.

City EDA Chairman Holmes Smith said Alice Megler, CEO of the NEW School which opened on Liberia Avenue this past spring and closed by fall, came to his house on December 13 and gave him a $5,000 check.

“This was the first payment in paying her debt back,” Smith said. “She said that is her intent to pay the whole debt back. But she said the NEW School wasn’t dead. She said they’re working on trying to get another site, and I turned that check over to our director, so that’s good news.”

“When are we getting the rest,” asked EDA member John Intihar.

“Well, I don’t know, she didn’t say,” replied Smith.

A stipulation in the grant requires the money be paid back to the city if the business fails within the first five years of operation.

Smith and Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small said they have no phone number for Mergler. Small said Mergler signed for two certified letters sent to her address notifying her of the business’ obligation to pay back the grant.

“Do you think you can have a further conversation with her?” EDA member Mark Olsen asked Smith.

Smith directed Small to send a new letter to Mergler thanking her for her payment. Small suggested asking for a promissory note “to give this body some comfort that [the money] is coming.”

Also in grant news, the EDA voted to fund a $25,000 matching grant to KO Distilling. Earlier this year, the state announced the distillery would receive a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

The $50,000 total will allow the business to hire new workers, and use Virginia-grown corn, wheat, and rye in its products.

The EDA also approved new bylaws on that state the body will hold regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month beginning in January. Before the vote, the EDA did not hold regularly scheduled meetings.

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